Gortroe Cross

October is mild, the sun unexpected,

Shortening the hard winter for us,

Yet, your father in the yard,

With the homemade hatchet

Breaks pallets.

Hop, hop, hop out of the bed

And throw back the blankets,

You would always be afraid

The head would fly off of

The hatchet.

They walk to Mass.

He knows exactly how many miles

The church is from the house.

Sometimes they would chance

Between the showers…

But they give themselves a good

Half hour to get to Gortroe Cross.

What time is it cloud?

What time is it crow?

What time is it now cow?

Where does the time go…

And they are old…granted…

Who would have thought twelve daughters

Would not guarantee them wealth…

He is slow, slower than she is but

Everything he does is deliberate…

He carries a stick to beat off

The dogs at Jimmy’s gate…

His sombre clothes clash with

Flash October’s flair for death.

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