(IM Michael Kearney 1936-2020)
After mass in the Oblates you set your hat for home,
shugging your wren-like frame into your new tweed coat
and scuttling up the Tyrconnell Road,
the walking-stick an essential addition since the fall.
The day is already a tangle of expectation
and, before your lift arrives, you have still to wrap
the Eason’s vouchers you bought for your cousins
four weeks ago, the striped paper bag, peeping
from the kitchen table, a gentle reminder.
But your days have been busy with dreams of broccoli
and baked ham, the status afforded by a purple paper hat
and the devout silence as your faint, precise voice
reads every cracker joke like a sacred text – fleeting
respite from shadows, cast by a coal effect fire.
Maurice Devitt has an MA in Poetry Studies from Mater Dei. He won the Trocaire Poetry Ireland Competition in 2015 and published his debut collection Growing Up in Colour with Doire Press in 2018.
Maurice’s poems have been nominated for Pushcart, Forward, and Best of the Net prizes and his Pushcart-nominated poem, The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work, was the title poem of an anthology published by Hibernian Writers in 2015. He is the curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site.