Poems by Michael Corrigan (Ireland)
Published in The Ofi Press issue 37.
Irish Diaspora 1958.
They’re the ones
not in the picture
who didn’t dance
at the sisters’ wedding
the absent friends
toasted at Christmas
the long distance phone call
the infrequent letter
the song not sung
at the family gathering
the small cheap suit
the small cheap coffin
the dull wet day
heavy with unsaid things.
Easter was the sacred place
in a hardscape of thin months and make do,
lambs birthing in the night fields
midwifed by my silent father,
gently cleaning and putting them to suck.
I held the bullseye lamp, childish chattering
In the cold spring air.
Strong dark tea in predawn quiet
then early mass and back to the fields
a ritual repeated all the Easters of my youth.
The city deafened and dazzled,
I mixed mortar with lime and sand,
carried bricks in a crafty hod,
a navvy Jesus on the ladder to Golgotha.
My father passed, his silence ever dutiful
and home, no longer home,
became a place of imagination
returned to in fugue
every drunken night
every drunken day.
I still attended Easter mass
now hollow in my patchy clothes
hands and health forever broken
face seared, branded with the alcoholic mark of Cain
a derelict man, a derelict life
endlessly repeating the desperate words of hope.
Mick Corrigan has been published in a large range of collections, journals, magazines, periodicals and e-zines across Ireland, The UK, Australia, USA, Canada and Egypt.
He lives in County Kildare with Trish his loving lifer, Molly and Ben the eight legged groove machine and a large collection of pork pie hats. He regularly has ideas well above his station and looks forward to the day when he is declared clinically normal.
Image: "Lambing" by Paul Rollings.