the madrigal, volume ii
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