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Friday, November 27, 2015

My submission to "La Familia"

I finger these words, like
beads of an ancestral rosary:
Buona sera, signorina!
Céad mile fáilte! Muito obrigado.
So many voices flow into
the sea of who I am,
my heart beats polyglottally,
many-tongued and joyful.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Full Moon

    Full moon, you don't mind
that I am often churlish.
    You still shine on me.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Lines for Sue

you’d listen to Episcopal liturgies on the radio

you loved your Charles Dickens martinis ("olive or twist?")

you read May Sarton and painted seascapes at Chatham

you taught mathematics to the women of Regis College

you would have loved Pope Francis I feel certain

you called me C-33 I called you The Bishop

you would take Mom and me to Henrietta's twice a year

you would talk to your younger cousin on the phone
about everything from Seamus Heaney to Ted Kennedy

you especially loved the poems of Mary Oliver

you loved art and family and peace and the Regis nuns

you sympathized with adventurous theologians

you disdained the narrow mind and the grudging soul

you died of cancer on the twenty-sixth of July

you live in my heart O most unorthodox saint

The Widow at Ninety

Brian was a good man. Born
in Tipperary, he came here with
his parents when he was thirteen.
Served in the Navy during the war.

We got married in ‘48, at St Ann’s
on Holcomb Road. It’s closed now.
He died of a massive heart attack
when I was thirty-nine, leaving me

to raise the four boys by myself.
I had to learn how to pay the bills.
Would you like another cup of tea?
It’s no trouble. Oh, how I miss him!

He always did the shopping, not me.
He was a better cook than I was—
and believe you me, I'm no slouch!
Not once did he ever hit me or the kids.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

For John Clare

I love to see leaves blaze to bold brash red,
Their waxy yellow veins making pale streaks;
See squirrels scamper up broad-shouldered oaks,
Or the dun-gray rabbit with its milk-white tail
(Long-eared big-bellied bag of bounce and frisk)
Happily loping from picket fence to path:
I love the moon distinct in the sky's deep blue
Making the blueness all around it glow.

I love to see frost crisp and whiten grass,
To hear the clamorous grammar of the sparrows
Half-bicker and half-praise in the newborn light;
I love to drink fresh water, achingly cold,
In cupped and lifted hands -- the lively water
That rushes over the slick stones of the Gale --
And most of all, on cold November nights,
I love the smell of unseen threads of woodsmoke
From a neighbour's fire in the year's huddled dusk.

In the Silverware Drawer After Dark

The steak knives are playing the Ramones at full blast. The salad forks are dancing with the teaspoons to the tune of "Come On, Ei...