In the Grounds of St Mary’s
Summer in the deserted school was dangerous.
Bored to death by the drone of the Eucharistic Feast
we leapt like demons from walls to rooftops
ignoring dark sheer drops beneath.
We risked hawk-eyed Leary and his mythical gun
for apples in the orchard of Sherwood. Once fled
an unhinged swarm which followed us in an
incensed cloud, duly stung.
Once played in the orange evening
with children seeking refuge from the North,
tumbled the wildcat then sat
cross-legged, friends in the long grass.
Their guardian came; lay full length among us
a sobering shadow in his cassock,
made us laugh puffing in pretense on his piece
of yellow straw like a cigarette. Had us in a game
guess the number, then touching each in turn
count the shiny black buttons running down his front.
Bern Butler is an Irish writer from Galway. She writes poetry and prose. Her work has featured in Ropes, The Galway Review, North West Words, The Blue Nib, Abridged 0-60, The Ireland Chair of Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Vox Galvia and Spilling Cocoa over Martin Amis. She has an MA in Writing from NUI Galway and was a featured reader at the Cúirt Festival Galway New Writing Showcase 2021. She is working toward a first collection.