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Image by Priscilla Du Preez


the madrigal, volume ii

Granny Cathleen

by ross walsh

Seated by the fireplace,

steely hair tied up beneath her shawl.


Turf smoke hangs in the air

and dances with the scent

of apple tarts baking.


The click click clicking

of her knitting needle

click click clicking.


Tending fields of lush green grass

and blooming white snowdrops

and ripe orange barley.


Always watching over the children,

relying first on her own strength.


She tells us “In my younger days,

no man could tame me”.

Now the bank is coming for her house.


Am I too old now?

Too old and worn to fight them?

And why would I try?


Her thoughts darken, but she speaks in a voice

as clear as when she was a proud young woman,

“There’s no fireplace like your own fireplace”.

Ross Walsh is a Wexford-born journalist and writer based in Dublin, Ireland. He has written for The Irish Times and Al Jazeera, and his creative work has previously been published in The Children of the Nation: An Anthology of Working People’s Poetry from Contemporary Ireland, From the Plough to the Stars: An Anthology of Working People's Prose from Contemporary Ireland, The Auroras & Blossoms PoArtMo Anthology: 2020 Edition, and Stepaway Magazine's 10th Anniversary Issue

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