Monday, March 14, 2016

Stroke
 
      Ireland to America, long ago
 
In this Kerryman’s eyes
big ships sail
and lighthouses flicker
light years away.
He’s 70 today and sits 
tombstone straight
in his caneback chair,
waves at a flake
hanging from his nose,
misses and curses.
It’s his first curse of the day
and he’s ready for anything,
an ancient ram braced for the British
climbing through the mist.
His children, parents themselves now,
sit in his parlor, silent around him.
When they hear his first curse,
they know it’s 20 years earlier
and Father is calling
a meeting of the family.
They shift in their chairs
as his eyes and his words
whiz around the room
like bees liquored up
looking for something to sink into.

 
Donal Mahoney


Dingle, Ireland

The bathroom carpet,
wall to wall, is blue,
the lightest blue,
to complement
the bowl and ceiling.

Apropos the moment: 
I bend the waist
and heave the gristle
from last evening's steak.

Tomorrow I shall row again
to see those ancient men
in caps and coveralls
stand like statues
while they talk
and tap gold embers
from clay pipes
forever glowing. 

I'll go there
at the dinner hour
and see them once again
fork potatoes,
whole and steaming,
from big kettles filled
at dawn by crones
forever kerchiefed
and forever bent.

At dawn you hear 
these women
sing their hymns
like seraphim
a cappella
as they genuflect and dip
big black kettles
in the sometimes still
sometimes foaming sea.


Donal Mahoney