Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

A poem from Paul McLoughlin: Selected Poems

Below is a poem from the Selected Poems of the late Paul McLoughlin (1947-2021), recently published by Shoestring Press and edited with an introduction by John Forth.

Mother in Murreigh

You wanted to be seventy
here – despite your brother
being the most contrary man
ever to put shoes on his two feet.

You spent the morning up at Peggy
Hanafin’s exchanging litanies
of the dead with friends
you hadn’t seen for thirty years.

How may the old ways endure
with the children elsewhere
and not a word to be said
for the one or two who stayed?

I watch you blow out the candles
on your cake, and think of Mary
over yonder, who was dead for days
before they picked her off the stone floor.

For the umpteenth time you ask
contrary James how many
sugars has he in his tea. The smile
he shakes his head with’s meant for me.