A corner of town that doesn’t have a name. It’s on Charles Street with Kay’s Children’s Shop on one side and The Manly Barber on the other.
Thank you very much to everyone who has sent stuff to help me keep going. Today’s poem comes from Anne Mulcahy
I am attaching my poem – Plassey – this is a poem about a 10 year old boy who has fond memories of his mother and of Plassey – a place in Limerick that locals frequented during Summer months – Plassey has a river and a black bridge that people jumped from into the river – unfortunately the boy drowns, – the poem continues to explain that the boy is reincarnated and has vivid memories of his old life, he spends his time trying to make contact with his mother – all in vain.
I would appreciate it if you could publish my poem for me
Spring smelled of Summers brink
– dew grass, mist lying close to ditches,
covering with whispers.
Plassey was my mothers retreat,
filled her lungs like air, salvation, ecstasy –
An addictive helium balloon.
The smooth river winding down the canal
would beckon, and from Spring to Autumn
she was its slave, fallen yellow leaves tangled
her sandaled feet in October,
while we, bumbled behind her
Ducklings behind a swan
Summer was her Byzantium,
long bright days ate her heaviness.
We stretched on coloured towels
on thick green bank-hills –
among its natives,
the butterflies and the bees.
then sizzled under sun’s rays,
like our frying sausages
smoking on the campfire
or twirled on the rope
looped over the trees arm.
Firewood flames flicker the summer breeze
mingling with scents of meadow spray,
Swans nests, cut grass, cow dung –
The scent of food
bid us to rise from the river floor
where in earnest we explore
the treasure the swans guard near the rocks.
Star spread swimmers splash from the black bridge
the unorthodox diving board –
where oft a rescue is needed –
I jumped – Laughing when I bobbed back
Ark my last jump failed me –
the river with her whithery branch
clasped my ankle in her iron grip
–air left my tight held lips.
The sun glittered above the waters head –
I sank – a stone cradled in the arms of the river.
I left this world –
I left Plassey and my mother,
As she sat on the river bank.
Alas, my story does not end –
Again I am reborn
air bellowed through me like a storm
– I blinked, my world had changed ,
no longer I the young boy
Of my mothers heart
Who dared a dare – who lived without care
Who at 10 still followed her everywhere.
No – I am a baby again
I cannot smell the riverbed,
the meadow or the swans,
I cried for my mother – I cried loud
Knowing she would be calling too.
But the rivers magic had done its trick and here I am anew –
Stuck in this alien place – while Plassey is my home
Through years I’ve trawled, and still explore
for the treasure beneath the worlds floor,
the re-born me has a memory
so sharp it cannot fade.
The scent of spring on Summers brink
The long hot days we played,
they call me night and day
possess my every breath –
are the source of my every pain
I am not alive in my past world
Nor in this world am I yet dead!
I’ve exhausted all there is to exhaust
and all to no avail –
A lunacy the Doctors diagnose
While Priests and Visionaries are vague.
I’ve tried retrospective Hypnosis,
Even the seven son of a seven son,
I told him my disarray.
He read my palm and slumbered deep
woke with a piercing scream –
you are a dead man alive again
His yellow teeth screamed at me!
I waste my life in chase of the other
travel sea and air, to be with my mother ,
to scratch this memory from my head
If you go to Plassey – tell her the door home has closed.
She waits by the big rocks where the swans guard,
watches the black bridge through frowned eyes,
scoures the river bed for our bobbing crowns,
while the suns glare glistens in her eyes.
Alas, I am doomed -a man between two worlds
Considered a lunatic or a fool –
No one believes my words
No one believes my memories are not dreams
No one believes the dead are alive!
Photo: Sukhi Kaur
Ballincollig is a town I know well. I have family there. They are blessed in Ballincollig with a lovely Regional Park where the whole town walks and plays. Recently locals have been delighted to see a seal frolicking in the river by the weir. He has obviously come a long way in search of food.
Back in 1959
Cathleen Mulvihill shared this great old picture on Facebook with the following caption
15 May 1959
Gael Linn Competition at Listowel, Co. Kerry. Picture shows dancing in the streets outside J.P. Kennelly’s and Kerin’s shop. Fiddler is possibly Sean Maguire.
Kerin’s, I’m told, was a bakery. Kennelly’s was a hardware shop.
A Covid Launch
Because of Level 5 restrictions it was not possible for Kay Caball to launch her book as she would have liked. Jimmy Deenihan, on behalf of Kerry Literary Trust, who published the book, invited a small few people to a very spare socially distant 5 minute peek at the book. Listowel Castle is closely associated with the Fitzmaurices so I took the opportunity to place the cover star, Francis, in a setting that would have been familiar to him.
Kay’s nephew, Cllr. Jimmy Moloney posed for a photo.
Family of the author, the publisher, the printer, the designer and book seller were all that came to set the saga of Francis and his family on its way.
The story is a great, if sad one. So little of the wealth of this dynasty remains today that we are lucky that Kay took the trouble to dig out the story behind this spectacular fall from fortune.