Poem of the week: In Loving Memory

A new work by Patrick Deeley

Patrick Deeley,   poet, memoirist and children’s writer. Photograph:  Judy Carroll Deeley. Credit:Dedalus Press

Patrick Deeley, poet, memoirist and children’s writer. Photograph: Judy Carroll Deeley. Credit:Dedalus Press

 

He sees his own name on a headstone
standing inside the iron gates
of the monumental works, gold-lettered
with space left for relevant dates,

a so far meaningless ‘In Loving Memory’
carved above it; but if destined
for such wear, he nonetheless
finds himself still here, above ground,

his family and friends taking him –
he shrugs – for granted unintentionally,
his grave yet to be dug, tall
wind-harried grass in some cemetery.

Still, it comes as a shock, as he
cycles home the streets of Kilmainham,
skirting the walls of the old jail,
the Patriots Inn, the Modern Art Museum,

to find his moniker, admittedly
a common one, in this stark usage
and confrontation which appears to fix
on him alone the glum message

meant for everyone. And such bad grace
about the thing, a daylight moon
in the offing, a waft of perfume,
and from a passing car a sing-along tune.

Patrick Deeley is a poet, memoirist and children’s writer. His seventh collection with Dedalus Press, The End of the World, was shortlisted for the 2020 Farmgate National Poetry Award.