The Light Dancing
When I close the door
my father’s coat slow-dances
against the dark wood.
It is old, this coat,
marked by many winters,
labours of a lifetime done.
I imagine him in the front yard
screening sand for the new extension,
coat collar upturned against the breeze,
a cigarette ashing towards his lip.
There’s a light in his eyes
when I stop during play
to prattle and hear him say
“you’re the best woman in the house”
Now coming from the Big Field,
the day’s farming done,
his great hands in deep pockets.
Dark shoulders that bear a darkness coming,
the last of the light
dancing on his wet boots.
(first published in Ropes 2015. Issue 23)
I had a child’s view of her,
black stockinged legs
without shape of calf or ankle
at my grandmother’s hearth,
the fire shining in her laced-up shoes.
Balls of wool from an old shopping bag,
and her tongue like the clappers
as she looped and purled.
Her needles took up the light,
flew like red spokes
in the garment cradling her lap.
She measured me
in the breadth of her childless arms
and grew me a shawl the colour of flame.
Its touch to kindle her memory
to set old fires dancing.
(first published in Skylight 47. Issue 5 )
The Light Dancing” and “Lizzie” are © Catherine Conlon