Death of an Irishwoman by Michael Hartnett

Ignorant in the sense

she ate monotonous food

and thought the world was flat,

and pagan, in the sense

she knew the things that moved

all night were neither dogs nor cats

put púcas and evil men

she nevertheless had fierce pride.

But sentenced in the end

to eat thin diminishing porridge

in a stone-cold kitchen

she clenched her brittle hands

around a world

she could not understand

I loved her from the day she died.

She was a summer dance at the crossroads.

She was a cardgame where a nose was broken.

She was a song that nobody sings.

She was a house ransacked by soldiers.

She was a language seldom spoken.

She was a child’s purse, full of useless things.


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