A poem by Dymphna de Siun about flying home for Christmas
Dymphna De Siun
I’m 64-years-old and have been working in Abu Dhabi for the past four years out of need, as I’m crippled with arthritis and a crippling mortgage. I retired early-ish from education in Ireland and got myself out here to the sun and a new job in Abu Dhabi Education Reform Project.
We are creatures of habit and habitat and on my regular flights home from this international hub that is Abu Dhabi, I meet bleary eyed Irish coming from Australia and goodness knows where else. I often detect a turbulence , a “pull”, as I myself am pulled. We are displaced beings with no loftier aim than to clear a debt. Here’s my poem.
In my mind’s eye I see him, old man stooped at Dublin airport. Palms rub together
warmed by frosty white breath.
The cabin’s already full of babies screaming.
Waxen throat calls ‘Crosscheck,
Cabin Crew prepare for take off!’
I feel pulled as a string
Broken cups each hemisphere.
The woman in front of me pulls her pink baby to her breast,
A little boy of two asks his Dad will it snow in Ireland.
My old man will ask ‘And where is Kate?’
I will lie again. My fate consigned to other climes and she no longer mine. Too soon
to speak that news.
The girl sitting next to me knits red booties.
A drowsy call, ‘White wine Sir’?
And Dad will tell all in Tullamore about his great son down the mines
Pockets full of opals
And he will fill my head with a litany of who dropped dead
And who got wed and split.
He’ll say you’re looking great son, despite my bloodied eyes.
A toddler in a Santa hat trots up and down the aisle.
A little girl with pigtails roars out ‘Jingle Bells’ as ‘Fasten Seat-belts!’ Captain calls.
We’re in a zone of turbulence.