Literary Orphans

Stick on Stone
by Michael Gallagher

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We knew each other only as men

Emigration saw to that:

Him in London, me in Achill

Me in London, him in Luton.

Even living together, we remained

Strangers in a rented room,

Speaking, not talking,

Robbed of our relative roles.

 

Sure, there were memories –

One golden Dukinella day

When Mick, the Yank, called;

We straddled a low stone wall,

Talked of Wimpy and McAlpine,

Roads and bridges,

Digs and pubs;

The boy was man!

 

A lunchtime booze in Wandsworth;

Three of us now living in London,

Yet chatting only the once.

Inheritance was split, spoils divided,

Unequally, but with good humour,

Padraig was always his favourite – and mine.

 

Nights in Castlebar hospital

After the emigrant’s dreaded summons:

“Come now, while he still knows you”

Between the awkward silences,

Came words of stuttered support;

And he survived – again and again.

 

I almost made it, that last time,

Got to Westport before news

Of our final silence.

Now, as I walk in Dromawda,

His gnarled stick, a stolen spoil,

Taps the unsaid

On the tarstone road.

O Typekey Divider

Michael Gallagher, a multi-award winning Irish poet, has been published worldwide and translated into 5 languages.

His collection Stick on Stone, published by Revival Press, was launched to critical acclaim at Listowel Writers Week in 2013. ‘searingly honest, angry, tender, hurt and ironic’ (Gabriel Fitzmaurice).

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O Typekey Divider

–Forground Art by Sarah Hardy

–Background Art by Zak Milofsky