Limerick’s Sons

By | 2 February 2001

We knew it as thrumming beat and ribtickle rhyme,
not as howling town wrapping steel river, hungry town
of whiskied blood and tackleboys, a place to ditch
your turpitude, canvas-sway across the ribcage
of the world to begin again in underbelly.
You were not the first — a path worn like centuried stone
by forebears dragging linkirons. You were not alone —
blood-thick brothers propping craven hearts. Here,
you tinkered and tailored and swilled, then pocketed coin
not your own, having sloughed a past but stowed your self.
Lucky for us, your blarneyed nights bartered your loss of luck
for a son, who came shimmying fast from his mother’s
muddied skirts to earthen floor, a missed catch,
a blue-eyed lad with bow legs, a mouth to match,
and a tongue beleaguered by wisdom. They say the blow
levered spirits from the star-canopy of his skull,
who whispered worldly thoughts in rhyme and song.
He was mocked, and hailed, as the chosen are,
but he was a love-learned boy whose aphrodisiac
innocence honeyed his way into scented sheets
and delivered me a grandfather. Oh, the miss
and hittery of it, the snatchery of love, with its tattle-tale
offspring who grow into men. Life, my grandfather
used to say, is a bubble in a bath. Crying’s no good,
you’ve gotta laugh.

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