‘Poems in Memory of my Mother’.

Ritual

images-4

Way of the Cross

Of a friend’s ill health, begun in youth,
you said: ‘It was her life, you know.’
You did the Stations of the Cross with her
each Good Friday, completing the circuit
in the empty church. That final time –
you’d laugh about it after –
you guided her the wrong way round,
ending at the beginning of the Passion.

Always, you allowed for hope: each loss
a truth to be mourned in prayer, then lived beyond.
Years on, your friend would share, unknowingly,
the same hospital room. You stayed calm,
knew how to let things be; needed all your strength
to hold your nerve. To hope. To live beyond.

Four Photographs

Here you are: in fox-fur cape with daphne spray;
dark eyes, dark hair; a warmly delicate smile:
fresh-lipped, trusting, your Irish mother’s daughter.
And here she is, formal in black, vibrant,
knowing what she knows… As a girl you’d nursed her
through bouts of dengue, contracted in India.
Once, taking your hand, she had said:
‘I’ve always thanked God for giving me you.’
Hours later, unexpectedly, her heart would fail.

Under the spinning metal fan, the frame
around you and my father, in middle-age,
glimmers like light on water….. In a small oval
the faces of two half-strangers who became as sisters,
able, at last, to guess the unsaid.

 

Five Years On

images-5

Celtic Cross

In Ireland last year I parted with
my particular grief, came back absolved;
no longer bereft, beholden.
But remembrance pulses on.
Whole cultures have been built on it,
have made of it a sacred observance,
and an art – the discerning of what the dead
ask of us, and how they feed our lives,
still, with glimmerings of wisdom.

The voices within us – some planted long ago
by them – have their conversations, suggest
how we might live now: more bravely,
more gracefully; tell us it is a marvellous thing
to stand simply in the light, accepting it.

Diane Fahey (difay@iinet.net.au)

Diane Fahey’s most recent publications, The Wing Collection: New & Selected Poems and The Stone Garden: Poems from Clare, were shortlisted for major poetry awards. A House by the River is forthcoming from Puncher & Wattmann in 2015. Diane has received a grant from the Australia Council to support the writing of a poetry collection set in the west of Ireland.

 

One thought on “‘Poems in Memory of my Mother’.

  1. These poems are delicate and profound; they reach across places and experiences, and they hold something very enduring in their words, as in the third poem, moving from absolution to acceptance, and the glimmerings of wisdom.

Comments are closed.