Thursday, September 15, 2011

Margaret Brock (1920-2011) RIP

Margaret Brock (1920-2011) RIP. The last of the aunts and uncles who emigrated to the UK, USA and Australia.

Last year myself and her son, who was visiting from Australia, climbed Knocknashee on her instructions. Knocknashee is the hill which overlooks her and my native parish in Sligo and features in the image at the head of this blog. This poem came as a result of that climb.

Climbing Knocknashee
(For Margaret and Bridget)

We picked the perfect weather.
No sun-tanned tourist jaunt,
but wind-swept, rain-scoured,

mission for memory, pilgrimage
proving our resolve, our ancestry
and gifting us something else -

the feel of wet earth underfoot,
the mark of real clay on hands,
cheeks burning with achievement.

We picked the perfect date -
All Souls. Their misty shapes
crisscrossed the dim patchwork,

moved between landmarks,
their birth and resting places -
cottages, schools, spring wells –

as they made their silent ways
to dances, doctors, chapels,
left by cemetery or railway station.

We picked the perfect place,
Knocknashee’s proud stump
demands attention, stranded

like an upturned ark, pointing
to something better somewhere
else. Crowned with cairns

and the worn-down wreckage
of unknown ages, a becalmed
benediction on life’s complexities.

We stood silent on the summit
wished you were there beside us.

You were there beside us.


Ann said...

What a beautiful moving poem. A sad and reminiscent tribute. Just beautiful Michael.

Michael Farry said...

Thanks Ann, she was a great lady.

Connie Roberts said...

My condolences on the loss of your beloved aunt, Michael. I love your poem, especially stanzas four through six. Haunting, but beautiful.