and there was snow on the peaks of MacGillycuddy’s Reeks.
The following year was bad
though earthworms flourished, corn crakes called,
and more books were sold than ever in the history of humanity.
In nineteen hundred and fifty two,
I escaped the threat of extreme unction.
The Quiet Man was found Waiting For Godot
Another journey towards maturity and posterity.
Miracle of life and death
A butterfly flapped.
Mary Oliver wrote “You don’t have to be good”
My parents showed “It’s best to live the way you should”
Conscience was a fashionable word,
Contrition was the world,
Confession insisted upon.
Surrounded by Holy Water fonts,
it was a miracle I grew up in Limerick
In those days, someone had to match Christmas cards with envelopes.
I remember meeting Picasso’s woman.
– perhaps that was Dublin –
I’m sure she had three heads.
Five heads flowed along the banks of the Shannon
Frank the Wisdom, Patricia the Joy, David the Magnificence, Deirdre the Talent
Peter the Intelligence.
Siblings under one roof
Resurection is much more attractive than birth. Rising from the dead.
Recovery is a form of absolution – a revolting cry
Recognition is a quintessence that collides while opening eyes
I stand on the shoulders of great mothers and grand fathers
“This is for you to consider.“
“It’s your eternity”.
Chapters of dialogue alongside the AGA in the kitchen
– like a primary school for the rest of my days.
There were Nurses marching outside the maternity ward of Bart’s Hospital, as he was born.
An amniocentesis in Homerton Hospital.
A whirlpool for my head
The nurse from Manilla crushed under the weight of a fainting father to be.
Filaments for the chronicle
So many fragments to stitch together.
Let’s celebrate the glory days of life No matter where the gold and silver lie and put aside those thurd’rous hours of strife until they shed fresh light upon our cries. It’s time to paint with colourful design To decorate our home and dress the bed In case this tide flows out and we decline Beyond the spit of smiles and slump misread. It’s Fall, when leaves turn brown and drift away A season to renew the bridge we built Back in the days we loved the wind that swayed The leaves of barley on the field of quilt. There’s no magic will disguise the mystery Of how to grow without complicity.
So there, dear friends, are lines composed to mark the twist in the road
When I was a child in Limerick my imagination didn’t stretch to Africa.
It never crossed my mind that I would go to Accra in Ghana or Bamako in Mali.
But I knew the name Timbuktu, the city that’s Tombouctou in French.
It never crossed my mind that Timbuktu in Mali might be twinned with Hay-on-Wye in the Black Mountains. That’s Wales.
My father collected National Geographic Magazines. I got the impression there were photographs of African people, animals, rivers, mountains, trees, and skies in every issue. The pull-out maps were big.
I had coffee in West Africa yesterday. I brought with me the best wishes of the people of Glanmire.
Two countries “bridging the gap” they said. You could see it happening in front you as you were drawn into the conversations.
I will own-up here. Give you the full facts (assuming there is such a thing as as fact).
After looking at WhatsApp, reading one message, and sending an audio reply …
After looking at emails that came in overnight, deleting all but one, and replying ‘ok’ …
I read the headline. The first paragraph. The headline, the news.
It sank in quickly.
I don’t admire the person I met in the kitchen this morning. I’m not proud of myself, my feelings, nor my thoughts.
I confess I had an evil mind. May my mother (RIP) forgive me. I must take responsibility for the flood of emotions I welcomed.
There was nothing noble about my hopes. Nothing honourable about my wishes. Nothing generous for breakfast.
Once upon a time, I wished my mother would break a leg, and be confined to bed for six weeks. I wished her no pain. All I wanted was for her to be incapacitated – so I and my friends could be free to enjoy ourselves without her rules hanging over us.
I may not like the person I am today, but it’s the second day of my birthday month.