I was commissioned to write the following poem to clelbrate the retirement of the Hall Manager at our local church, St. Thomas Aquinas, Ham, Richmond-on-Thames,Surrey England. It was an enjoyable occasion and the poem was well received and Andy the recipitent was very touched and wanted a copy.
His Last Mabon
for Andy Doyle
Archdruid of our church hall he’s plotted our Eisteddfods
harmonized receptions, art shows, dance groups, parties,
our saga of celebrations from Harvest to Patronal Feast,
he was the slate rising to incise bookings. “Speak to Andy”
the song inscribed on every shingle of notebooks
roofing the history of St. Thomas Aquinas, Ham.
Sure as Hafrin’s bore running the border from the sea
he swept floors, collected cups as women
flittered round his baton, bards to his Eisteddfod
of coffee mornings where the ballad of news
rang round lips and children grew to serve,
his teacher’s eye noted their progress, year on year.
But now slate shingles will open as Windows key strokes,
his slate split books no more inscribe
the calendar of bookings for our beloved hall.
Andy’s rising from the mine he’s worked –
you’ll find him perusing papers in our library.
Only on Sundays will he raise his sword of peace
still Archdruid of the coffee morning.
Carolyn O’Connell ©
September 16 2016
The following week 8 September 2016 I attened a Concert for Callis Refugees at St. Richards Church where my poem “Elegy to a Migrant Mother” previously published on “I am not a Silent Poet” was sung by Bo Sundstrom who had set it to music.
Elegy to a Migrant Mother
Growing up in days of conflict
you chose love across the divide,
defying custom, convention and
family allegiance, duties of a daughter.
Escaping to the enemy’s land
doors slammed in your face and
windows waved messages of hate
as you scrubbed strangers’ floors to survive,
mourning an un-suckled child.
Your Romeo rejected his father
accepting exclusion and followed
to find you in enemy territory,
safety in the land of rejection.
When war racked your new land
he fought with new comrades against
an enemy who sought to enslave again.
When peace returned together you
quietly built a new family, bridged the
divide between remnants of the old, and
visited the graves of parents, the homes
of long missed friends where old joys were
remembered, relived. You held your head
high as you walked the streets.
But you would never return to that land
your fate a migrant woman who keeps
secrets safe, silent about the voyage of the past.
Published I am not a silent poet 14/5/2015