The year I was born was good,
it rained, the sun shone,
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
much more attractive than birth.
Rising from the dead.
a form of absolution
– a revolting cry
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
into maturity, without undue humility.