I Come From

. . . a house with a garden – dad’s precious roses,

a family garden with putting green and rabbit hutch.

Grandma Dove and Granny Stork in floral pinnies.

New straw hat and pristine white stockings for the first Sunday in May.

Train to the city – Grant’s Bookshop.

Mother’s jacket that smelled of plums

. . . like the Balsam flowers by the river.

Her Coty L’aimant and father’s pipe smoke.

Handsome brother in naval uniform – razor sharp creases –

postcards and presents.

Cousin’s tenement with its cold, dark close –

hide-and-seek in the middens and corner shop sweets –

Sunday visits to Paddy’s market – cheap trinkets.

The Orange walk – trills from the flute and bangs on the drum.

Grandpa’s allotment – the scent of Ribes –

handmade feeding tables and nest boxes –

Vibrant notes of ‘O What a Beautiful Morning’ pierce the stillness . . .

e.c.t. put a stop to that.

Gazing from window – he sang no more.

I come from a house with dark cupboards to hide in.