Who was that?
This is her only child speaking, he with the seven children,
he without a father of his own to mention.
He saw her pointing
She, dwarfed, in her city growing,
in the shadow of the young man towering.
He with the straight back housing the battered rucksack
festooned with patches and other such knick-knack
that would plot his travels for you without your asking.
in the direction of Werburgh Street.
He was askin’
This is Mary speaking, his proud mother,
single and shamed by his conception, brave
in the face of rejection, stiffened her back
and kept him,
for directions to St Stephen’s Green.
all those years ago.
When Mary, his mother,
– not our Holy Mother, the immaculate one,
who also gave birth out of wedlock,
but our grandmother – refused
to offer up her son, our father,
to the church and state to save face and return
to a state of grace or some such nonsense.
But that’s in the opposite direction, Mam.
This is Tommy speaking again, Mary’s pride and joy.
Her world, her reason for living.
The reason she faced down the monochrome of morality.
Turned to her family
Well, Mary says to her son, her beautiful son,
– her chin tilting once more against the norm.
I don’t know where St Stephen’s Green is. But I wasn’t going to tell him that!