Michael Farry, Nursing Home Christmas Blues

Nursing Home Christmas Blues

I know. I saw the film too.
When she told me I laughed out loud
for a while. Later, in the crowd
I met a man, alone and sick, who

thought he knew me. The park
is neat but I recall the mill
in ruins, the orchids and cranesbill
among the chaos, lovely, dark

domain of fancy. I swore I’d stay
forever. Tomorrow is Black
Friday but I don’t bivouac
for bargains now. The motorway

is flooded, lanes closed and snow
is forecast, all over, chill air
from the Arctic. This year, glassware,
boots and some complicated gizmo

are all the rage. I lie and wait.
Things happen. My latest book sits
unfinished. I plan my favourite
dinner. The mutton is first-rate

but expensive. Always blackface.
Sherry later. If it snows I’ll stay home.
Happy the man who can sing
in the street, in the bar, alone.

Do you make fun of everything?
We knew the lot. We were wrong.
We believed some stupid folksong,
optimistic fools. I’ve confessed.

Last week I was delirious.
Father died from a heart attack.
The doctor was sober, call back
tomorrow. Is it serious?

It’s almost Christmas, crib and star.
I remember tinplate train sets,
china dolls. Now it’s silhouettes.
Happy? We are. We are. We are.

Michael Farry writes poetry and history. His latest poetry collection Troubles (2020) was published by Revival Press, Limerick. Previous collections were Asking for Directions (Doghouse, 2012) and The Age of Glass (Revival, 2017). He has published widely on the history of the Irish war of independence and civil war. He edited Boyne Berries for many years.

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