Tell me again how it fell


FEBRUARY 1947 by Mairéad Donnellan

Tell me again how it fell,
came at you sideways,
melted like a thousand hosts on your tongue,
entered the chinks of your top coat,
mother’s fingers tight around yours,
footprints filling on the way to the haystack.

How halfway there you turned home,
and the wind moved his tune out of the ditches,
up into the eaves you nested beneath,
listening to prayers on their way to the Saviour,
two cows outside making do with straw
plucked from your mattress.

Each thing settling in your memory
while you drifted off,
dreamt of ascending the haystack,
a great sugarloaf at the end of the lane,
the distance between earth
and heaven, closing in.


‘When the world turns white, everyone has a memory’, Turtle Bunbury


The accompanying painting is ‘A Backstreet in the Snow’ (1895) by Walter Frederick Osborne.

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