Dark Memories

Michael D. Higgens
Sitting in a dark room, she'd ask me Not to turn on the light,
That her tears might not be seen.
We'd know it was like that for, earlier,
She might have said, "If I was starting out again, It's into a convent I'd have gone,
A way from all the trouble." Or she would have spoken Of lovely times in the shop, drinking
Tea and eating Marietta biscuits,
Or taking a walk with her little dog,
After playing the piano in the sitting-room Over the shop, where soldiers came
And bought more biscuits, when life
W as easy in Liscarrall,
A garrison town; before my father Blew up railway lines and made his way Into her affections.
She stood straight then, and, in a leather coat, She left and joined him a decade after
The Civil War. And she had loved him
In her way. Even when old Binchy wrote a notice In Charleville that when all this blackguardism Was over, there would be no jobs
For Republicans in his fIrm, or anywhere else,
For that matter.
Now bent and leaning towards the fIre, With blackened fIngers holding the tongs, She poked the coals; and we knew
It was best to leave her with her sorrow For her lost life, the house she'd lost, The anxious days and nights,
And all that might have been.
We ran outside and brought in turf
And did our lessons and vowed that we would listen To what she said, of cities where always
There were voices for company, and churches
Close by if never cheap. We would listen to her story And vow that, for her at least,
We, her children, would escape.
Page 20, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 28