To a sister a million miles away...

DÁNTA DÚNTA le Mícheál Ó Coisdeala.

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Do Mháire san Astráil
For Mary in Australia

I see your face in dim and distant backstreets,

When the cribby was our kingdom,and the entry was the edge of childhood`s vision,

Small was our world in another time and place,

But chained to cobbled memories you remain,

Of pigeons on the slates on dull wet mornings,

Swinging on a lamppost green and cold to touch,

Of tall black chimney stacks and factory horns,

The rattle of the milkcart and bark of little dogs.

Now four lifetimes later and four decades passed,

I see a woman`s face in some gaudy office tower,

Chained to dust and heat,in dumb exile,

Heart and mind elsewhere,as a shutter clicks,

In a green glen where her father picked flowers for her,

On a pavement with her brother holding hands,

In the black and white split second of a camera`s eye,

Better to forget than add to sorrow`s triumph?