Sunday, 6 December 2009
My neighbour from my homeplace in Mill Lane died yesterday. She saw my parents grow up, she saw all of us grow up, and she was like an aunt/granny to me.
I was the kind of kid who hung around adults and I loved this woman's stories and songs, so I spent a lot of time in her house. I also loved all the goodies she used to give me and my sisters and friends: chocolate, Fox's mints, biscuits and lemonade.
She lived in a long, typically Irish 3-room cottage, with no running water and no flush loo, even in the 21st Century. She loved B&W TV, B&W photos, sugared jellies and wildflowers; she rarely left our hometown - all she wanted was within a one mile radius of her house.
I wrote this poem, which appeared in Crannóg Autumn 2009 about her house after she left it to go to hospital long term. She won the virgin statue at a fairground stall many years ago. Her name was May.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh sí. Rest in peace.
The Virgin Statue
And she will still be there, tall as a toddler,
static in her wooden cave, table-bound,
queening it over the piano where mice tinker,
over an empty, many-coverleted bed,
the clock, hollowed out of chimes,
over a sea of mats, the black-and-white TV
– conduit to this century – blank-screened, silent.
Her eyes mad with sorrow, she misses, maybe,
the mingle of fried spuds and Coty, the ghosts of dogs,
the May-long worship at her shrine.