In time’s sad passing

In time’s sad passing

Drove from Bray
           down to Wicklow
a thick coat of snow
           lying across the land
heaped high on the sides
           of the road and in smaller piles
perched precariously
           on the branches of trees

Winter had turned this part
           of the emerald isle white
so that the sheep
           in the rolling hills
were hard to distinguish
           from the ground they trod

I knew that my aunt
           whom I’d left hours earlier
in a hospital bed in Tralee
           would be gone before
the next spring came
           and the landscape
reappeared in full bloom
           I thought of the thin veins
on her hands and her forehead
           visible through the pale skin
and I recalled the shallow breath
           that softened her voice
so that she seemed already
           to have become half shadow
and yet her sharp blues eyes
           were as full of life as ever

John Lyons

 

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