Friday, June 12, 2015

The Wake


When Katy Tyrell’s eyelids were closed,
they stopped the clock,
covered the mirror,
and she was waked. 

Entwined in her hands, a rosary beads,
‘Je suis L’imaculée conception’
was embroidered on her shroud;
everyone said she looked every inch a Cherokee.

After she was laid out, with the ticking stopped
and a sheet blocking the devil’s door, 

he said, “ Let’s sit down to a game.”
“Shuffle the cards, dale herself in.”  

“Lay’ve the window open
and mind, don’t step in her way”


Robert Phelps said...

Ah, from this half-Irishman across the pond, you've captured the sideway looking care given at an Irish wake, and I loved the colloquial ease, never to be discovered grief that lies just under the ruddy skin. Loved the humor -Je suis....Cherokee. Comparing this with Haeney's SCHOOL BREAK, where the boy has just lost his mom, and his use of fricatives in the last line to display an impotent rage, this little poem is more serene, but both are about losing someone; and she still sits at the table. This poem, to me, is of that 'sideway looking care' that is really there, though hidden under a sanguine humor.

Robert Phelps, OFM Cap.

Michael said...

Hi Robert, thank you for the comments. I am particularly pleased to get them from a half-Irishman from yonder country, as the last half-Irishman I knew from across the pond,(a Benedictine), was very astute in his observations.