Saturday Poem

The Burial of the Poet’s Daughter

—for Susie Iremonger

What an assembly of the old!
Of tangled grey hair!
Of stooped backs and rheumatism!
Of baldness, wrinkles and weak eyes!
Their youth unrecognisable now –
Experts at death this poetic band.

But at the base of the altar
Where the coffin was laid
The glass houses of sorrow!
The teeming colours of Spring!
Blue, yellow and rose!

The sisters are weeping –
Cries like an awl piercing the heart –
But high in the rafters
I hear the bell of her laughter
Silvered and beautiful.

Old age is the common fate;
She chose the opposite.

by Máire Mhac an tSaoi
from The Miraculous Parish / An Paróiste Míorúilteach
publisher: O'Brien Press / Cló Iar-Chonnacht, Dublin, 2011