Friday, 2 September 2011

Name on a Tombstone

name her

I know nothing about her,
my great-great-grandmother,
(the Irish one).
I can only visit her
iron-fenced bones
while standing at some funeral
in the sun

or wind and rain with brothers,
sisters, cousins, as the sea drones
below that cliff-top cemetery,
sharing memories
of fathers and uncles
with their Irish sense of humour.
No-one left now

to ask if it was her widower,
my great-great grandfather
Bernard, who married again
someone so disliked by his daughters
that one day while she was away,
they buried all her clothes in the garden?
All I can do in the present

is to name her,
Mary Frances Reilly,
then use whatever is left
of her in me to picture first the girl,
then the woman, imagine
that she was tough,
trust that she was kind.

Kay McKenzie Cooke

view over Te WaeWae Bay from Orepuki cemetery


Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Sweet and tender.

Kay McKenzie Cooke said...

Thanks Joyce. I like to try and imagine what the ancestors were like ... great fodder for writing.


'how this all harbours light'