That caused me to meet Mary Sweeney.
She lay in a casket surrounded by
Flowers, family, and neighbors;
The scent of green distant mountains,
Weathered valleys and waterfalls.
A seal was heard sounding,
A voice, yielding and mournful.
Coastal waters rumbled rhythmically.
Blind villagers danced a reel,
Deirdre danced on the tip of a wave.
Cúchulainn and Oisín argued over
Who would be pallbearers.
Isn’t interesting how the sound
Of a poem begins like railroad tracks
And the train isn’t seen till the end.
Sure, God be thanked, we’re all together
Beneath one roof.
A seal sat up front, singing;
O, the cares of tomorrow must wait ‘til this day is done.
Several fine villagers sat down in relief,
Timmy had finally taken a nap
Deirdre sat next to Cúchulainn,
And Oisín kept notes. You and I smiled,
For didn’t we know,
There’s hope from the ocean,
As the train tugged uphill, we glanced backward.
There was a shout for music, festivity and fiddles.
And her father placed a Yule log on the fire;
The countryside awakened with white.
Christmas bells rebounded over the valley below.
Mary was at peace, arrangements had been made
For her to stay a little while in Ireland.
--Daniel Patrick Murphy