for Patricia Horgan
You are doing what anyone would do
when you kneel in broad daylight, Patricia,
in the middle of a Cork street to whisper
into Christy Ring's ear an Act of Contrition.
Granted extra time and a second wind
he would be inclined to join in with you
because he’s loved it since he was a child,
except these are the dying minutes of his life,
time is flying and his mind is elsewhere,
and you are keeping his good soul company
because he has done all that flesh can do.
It is enough that he hears you say ‘amend’
as you make out of your garment a pillow
and take, as you pray, in your hands his hands.
Today’s poem is from Tom French’s new collection, The Sea Field (Gallery Press)