A Scarce Decade
Thorny stems claimed my late neighbour’s home.
Grabbed what ground they could, crept under the eaves and pushed in.
The rising path John once walked, now belongs to the hare.
Ivy seals the windows, a tree grows from the chimney.
Winter winds have lifted slates and knocked the leaning shed.
In the slant of sun, slow cattle moved in the bramble field.
Fallen stones lie scattered where the wild goats leaped a wall.
The rusted gate still hinges on twisted wire and twine.
Fuchsia bells droop over the fence his grandchildren climbed.
The hedge he trimmed is tall and wild with purple flowers.
I pause as I pass his door, where he leaned his blackthorn stick.
Been years since a dog came out to join me on my walk.
The calloused grandfather tells us of hard times,
mixing concrete with a shovel, digging foundations by hand.
How he kept joking when he felt like walking away from it all,
drinking the health of another newborn.
The grandmother tells us, we had nothing, we did
the best we could and made soup with the bones.
Children collected berries in jars to make jam.
They played with a skipping rope and stones.
Every year she knitted seven woolen jumpers,
The children chose the colour wool they wanted,
got from the jam money she made with their help.
She crocheted a shawl for the baby with the scraps.
Now her gnarled hands fold rugs, often mended,
loyalties recalled, embroidered in careful stitches.
When they were young they sang, danced and loved.
That is what they had, after all.
Granddad’s Weekend Break
two stents more
that makes four
good as new
How was your
inedible, no butter
no salt, but
the nurse was
I almost lost
Pam Muller was born in South Africa in 1958 and has been living in the South West of Ireland since 1978. She has been writing poetry since she joined Clan na Farraige,
‘People of the Sea,’ a small writer’s group in Kenmare, Co. Kerry over twenty years ago. She won the Speaking for Scéine Poetry Chapbook 2014 prize and originalwriting.ie poetry prize in 2015. Her early poems appear in Perspectives (Askif Press, 2005), a self-published collection which she shared with her husband Etienne Muller and son Michael Muller.