In Memory of Jane Flanagan of Lisdoonvarna in Co. Clare who died on January 14th 1987 aged 97 years

who sometimes would say,
as if it were the most natural thing in the world,
“I’ll have a word with Our Lady.”

I taught my son Jesus
to clean himself, clothe himself,
feed the goats, sing old tunes,
say prayers for people.
I told my son Jesus
not to rush blindly,
take care of his talents
and look to the future.
For he was all children.
I tell it to Janey,
she saw the truth happen.

Out of Clare hillside,
a friend to me always.
Past worlds it reached me,
the sound of her heart,
the sense of her voice.
We were mothers together.
I felt included
in the four generations
that her age shone on.
I was acquainted
with the details of the farm,
what the steers sold for
and the walling of the fields.
And I was fascinated
by the seamstress art
of the town’s tailor.
Many-layered rock,
a salt note off the sea,
far-seeing, friend to all,
she worked the day long.
I saw my son Jesus
lengthen out, lose himself . . .
find that one person

to some it is no secret

Now I have a neighbour
whose life has left fibre
in the world’s threading,
and who sits with me and gossips
of all our tribes are doing
in the dazzling, dancing sphere.

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