• Kate Clarke

Out of Mind

I found an old leather pouch,

shiny as a Prospect Park conker,

with a stubborn, time-worn brass catch.

It was tucked behind an attic beam -

a good place for a hidden thing.


The little bag held childish drawings,

and your boy’s eager letter to Santa,

your earliest newspaper cuttings:

“Local lad’s first stab at the charts,”

your school photograph, English Martyrs,


and a five pound note, past legal tender,

The Duke of Wellington on the back.

You kept it because it was from your grandmother,

she died before you could run her errand,

so the note became too precious to spend.


An envelope, marked with your fine hand,

said: “Joseph, baby tooth, “Amy, baby curls.”

Pale locks, soft as Carmarthenshire sand.

You could blow them away with a whisper,

but I have never held such weighty matter.


There’s a song you sang for me once or twice:

“I saw your sisters in Galway this morning

with their ringlets and ribbons of white.

It was called Tramore Tonight -

an Irish communion scene,

that too, you stowed behind an attic beam.


Kate Clarke


Tramore Tonight – Terry Clarke

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