As I have loved you

When the evening came, she sat down with them all
Holding court in the sparse bedroom
One by one she comforted them
Giving audience from her bed
As her time was at hand

As she had given life in the Rotunda
As she had given comfort to the sick and dying
Are you right there, Ruby, are you right?
As she had given friendship, given compassion, given care
Given, given, given til she ate away at herself
Like the gnawing cancer
But the hollow always filled
A child’s hole at the seaside
With love

No echoing hollow
No resounding gong
She spoke human, she acted angel
She has love

Love one another
As I have loved you

Some people are crazy
Some are just plain good
The crazy Celt was in search of her people
Lost in the wilderness
Wandering through the book
Joining the dots from Bob to Ruby
And the only Jew in the village
Merry Christmas
Happy Chanukah
Whatever you want
The trail brought her to
The tribe’s pied-a-terre in New York
Spreading loose change behind her
Tokens of love

There weren’t no machine gun big enough
To protect what she loved
But who could protect her
From the black eyed dog at the door?
It shadowed her to the tip of the island
Growling around the cloisters
It hung her head in Bernard Shaw’s village
How to keep yourself clean and bright, GBS
In the rising tide of that NYC disease
The dulling senses of old age, waxy flesh
Boulders of cancer blocking the ducts
Blood, sweat, shit and tears blocking the hospital drains
City grime blackening the hospital panes
I’m the window through which I must see the world
And I’m black as a dog
Sure look pretty now, bitch
My name is Sorrow
And my soul is exceeding sorrowful

Then she bursts through the door
The life and soul
Her skin-tight black catsuit
Draped in the stars and stripes
Wrapped in glory
She plays the numbers game
Adding a second passport
Green
Dark blue
(And secret light blue from the older country)
Soft emerald conjoined with Safad sapphire
North, South, East 14th
East to her former life in Baghdad
Wandering through hollow lands
And the hills of Derry, the black pool of Dublin
Poor towns
Kilburn, a fire in her head
Irish rover and lover

Finally back home in Carlingford
The last Christmas dinner
Bald as Sinead
Nothing compares to her
Rotunda – the circle closing
Bloated as Brando
Full of grace, dressed in white
No horror
No fear
Take, eat, this is my body
And a drop of my favoured red, I’m no saint
The flesh is weakening
But the spirit is high and willing
Merry Christmas
Whatever you want
Yes, the sweet tasting good life

The hour is at hand
Sleep on now, and take your rest
Don’t cry for me
I’ll never leave you
She loved Madonna
Drama queen
Holding court in the bottom bunk
Sister of mercy
She comforted us
At the hour of her death

She loved her own
Until the end

for Una

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2 comments so far

  1. marilyn on

    simply beautiful

    • Cecelia on

      Oh Adam, you brought her back to me, you brought the pain of loss and you brought her love. Thank you.


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