Black shoulders, white earphones,
she sits on a wooden stool
in the ‘Internet Centre of Excellence’
on Winthrop Street.
Blends into a smartphone,
like my dad consumed TV,
sat by his books
in Fort Mary.
Her fingers fit for a keyboard,
carrying a library
in the pocket
of bleached blue jeans,
from a SuperValu plastic bottle.
Frank O’Mahony smoked a pipe
in a drawing room,
sat in an armchair covered in faded flowers,
never blotting a book, straining a spine,
creasing a corner, ripping a leaf.
Father sold books.
Eyes glued to screens,
liquid crystal married to tubular light,
pathways to wider worlds.
They both wore brown shoes.
Our mother doesn’t believe in death
Our grandma doesn’t believe in death
Our great grandmother doesn’t believe in death.
Even after everyone knows she’s passed away
she doesn’t believe in death.
She believes in sign-posts
and the sort of markers that say
you’ve entered a new townland.
Our mum believes in evolution and re-cycling
and believes she’s back with the love of her life
the man she married for thirty years
her husband forever.
Our mum believes in the journey
The journey with people, the journey for people,
the good life.
Our mum is …
Our mum was ready.
Oh, she told her family a long time ago
that she was ready.
She lived her day-to-day with love
as generously as any creature.
She reached out to the widest family of humanity
and she believes that’s the only way to live up,
to live the good life.
Our mum doesn’t believe in death
she believes in Resurrection,
She believes she’s moved on
her work on Earth is done
her work among us is the best she could do.
Our mum believes she’s no saint
she has sinned
she’s made her peace
she is forgiven.
Our mum is in love
a love deeper that the lover who feels
they’ve found the one they were meant to find.
Our mum doesn’t only believe in God
our mum knows her God is love
and love endures for ever.
Watching you watching
her play in the swimming pool
a lizard soaks sun
Blue shoes in pink
pink carriages in blue.
A clasp of silver buckle
reflects the sliver of light
that reaches into the cabin
bound for Lanzarote.
Geese… I hope she doesn’t need the potty
and hasn’t wet my lap.
If I simply say ‘you’re the best mum I’ve ever had‘,
you’ll know I’m in touch with previous lives.
But you’ll deserve it – because you brought us up
to think and duel with words, and look beyond
to the next time when I shouldn’t be late, or break
House Rules, lest you and I would give and take
for hours and hours – so I would learn and yearn
to be my own person – as is your way.
A man I looked at twice
I saw a man that reminded me of another,
grey bristles conjured up a face
The forgotten put me in mind of the father
I’d lost, and that deathbed
brought back to life
the mother of my best friend
as she lay wasting
and the nurse checked the cathedra
made in a country where I’d visited
the Pied Piper’s adopted home
and fell asleep
in a single bed over which a portrait
of Saint Aloysius hung, next to the holy water font
replenished by an unknown agency.
I self-published the first version of this poem on my blog in January 2006