I had one too;
I know some of what it’s like.
But what’s more, your
mudder at one time destroyed my life;
that time, those thirteen
years ago she delighted
in playing with my vulner-
abilities: my all-too-clear perceptions of the shite
she pretended to ignore,
or – what’s more – even tended to and cultivated
and actively nurtured; and then
rated highly for purposes all too personal.
And I know that two creatures of her age – like she and me –
who might promise you so much
and, in the ultimate, deliver quite the opposite
would, in so doing, destroy any vestiges of hope in an
in the common sense of reaching out
to other soulmate of loud and shout.
But I have been there, and I have almost died.
And I have cried, and almost died, more times
than I care
And maybe you too have once or twice tried.
And perhaps that’s why on that Dublin summer’s day,
in the beautiful corner they kept for us true,
in those Woollen Mills of time me and you,
we found it so easy to connect and to talk:
for you had survived the onslaughts of that tough mudder
in much the same way as myself when her lover.
Both of us – I mean, both you and me –
still confident there just had to be
of being together in a love and a respect, in an
appreciation so real;
in a real embracing
of the brain and the sane and the body of
For it’s true enough: if anything might distinguish
the two of us from the rest,
it’s the pain we have survived and lived through;
even as testing life’s waters with pressure under grace
has never left our sides – never with any haste.
I know what I feel:
I will always feel hopeful.
Even in my darkest hours, even when the minutes tower,
I will still hold my face up to the lights
of those rough diamonds
of a thrived and beloved life:
turning and twisting in the lights of your memory now;
the memory of a young Belfast woman
who despite all her hurt
will never be curt nor just cope.
And still I don’t know you all that well, at all –
and yet more than anyone I ever have met,
I remember quite easily the few hours we spent together, strange,
better than any hours I’ve ever spent.
Before or since;
with other soul;
whatever the roll, whatever the road.
And if you can’t feel the things I do most certainly feel,
then decline these truths of mine
for more, and evermore.
But if, happenstance, you may feel,
even where not mightily,
the things I feel well,
the things I feel strong,
I mean about the ways of living this life, despite the strife
it surely – this
still! – will wanton want to
throw at you –
and me –
then whether we end up together forever
or whether our fates
will separate our lot,
the very slightest time we spent in that hug
of very first encounter, way back then, and yet – even now –
ever-present in my wayward when …
… and so please do remember that Dublin summer
in 2016 … please do remember
At least for me, dear young Belfast woman.
At least for me,
if not for thine:
and maybe – too – for my sometimes trying
couched sincerely – always sincerely – in the softest of stolen kiss.
And so never do forget what it meant – as a consequence –
for this one humanity I am:
for this person who over and over has weirdly tried to be the gentle-
man he never saw,
in private upbrought and childhood wrought.
For the reminder and remainder and memory true
of the first of the four briefest hugs
you ever did see –
perhaps never more to be seen, neither seen nor
ever been, again –
was such a good thing for me,
such a fine thing …
… such a thing of treasurable
sort … such a grand lesson of learn and
And so do remember this, if you can stand to;
and do remember
whilst hard tough mudder of unyielding class
did hurt us both in curious, similar way,
neither you nor I have lost our love
for the essence and the hub and the gorgeous nub
of experiences –
To learn and explore and always find out more
about the surroundings that wonderfully around our beings,
and make a soldiering on and never giving in –
in those times of pain and
awful silent din – the only option we must never refrain …
… the only option, indeed, we must never
And our option and perhaps our motto too, whether together or apart:
for the heart of you and me
lies not in the being together we now may rare achieve.
The heart of you and me
lies in the both of us choosing to be just ourselves:
a state of mind real and near,
not a bind to attach
around a sentimental burden of dreadful, blackmailed, emotional trap.
And so at the end of the road of the soldier true
lies the yellow of the road of pleasure.
And the grandest pleasure, ever, which this world and rock has
offered me up
has been to extend that hug
and drink that cup with you,
in the corner so gently reserved
at the Woollen Mills
of you and me, once …
… once in that Dublin summer of 2016.