Poem of the week: Kaddish

By Dolores Stewart

Dolores Stewart

Dolores Stewart


A word in your shell-like, my lovely –

now that you’ve upped and left, popped your clogs
and joined the rest of the brown bread

on slabs in Her Majesty’s morgue
a stone’s throw from the dock gates

awaiting repatriation, most like, though not on the grid

of old maps and pathways where children
of the famine Irish play barefoot in the snow, where

the bells of St Mary-le-Bow ring out and fill the mouth with sound,
the twelfth bell hung for curfew

and the Song of Simeon: now Lord let your servant go in peace
according to your word.

And say amen, when the ghostly quorum gathers again and again
to say kaddish for the soul of the docklands

and beyond. And say amen as the fog is lifted from the wharves
and the Ripper’s port-of-call.

And say amen for the jellied eels and the gin. And for the script you wrote
in the dust of backstreets and alleyways,

the steps and stairs, a wave as you up the apples for a kip.
And say amen.

Dolores Stewart writes in Irish and English. Her collections include Presence of Mind (Dedalus Press, 2005) and An Cosán Dearg (Coiscéim, 2003)