By My Mother

by Greg Delanty


  (Marymount Hospice, Cork)  


Tonight I keep watch over you dying,

The most peaceful night I ever knew.

I suppose it’s the release of your going

drawn out over chemo months into


years. I soothe your agitated hand. You lie

under the nightlight’s nimbus, reflected within

the black window—your bed and you fly

in the pane above the city’s Saturday-night din.


Pure Chagall. You head into the stars,

over Summerhill, Capwell, Evergreen, the Black Ash;

hover above familiar streets and lanes, bars

folk sing in. There is no need to dash.


Your name has just been noble-called.

Sing South of the Border one last time. You

raise your voice above the Lee, the town you hauled

a lifetime of plastic bags through,


bowing into the drizzle, drudging home

along North Main Street, up Blarney Lane;

our city of hills, our ’Frisco, our Rome,

our Buenos Aires, our Varanasi. Rain weeps on the pane.


Your hand must be waving adios. Ma,

the night sky reflects our city below.

Now every light’s a votive candle, your Fatima.

Behold the glass darkly. There you go.