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image book cover Sometimes in Winter by Conan Kennedy

I n   R a n e l a g h,
W a t c h i n g   M u c k r o s s   G i r l s

A blonde girl with a ponytail in a green uniform
Is of particular interest to me this morning.
(No this is not a perv poem, my wife deletes
Those from the files and I forget them.)
I have come from Cullenswood House
Where Pearse taught and where I have left
A child to his nursery school and now I sit
In Coffee Heaven with my son discussing
Cathars, and the Albigensian heresy.
We are probably the only people in the place
Discussing the Albigensian heresy.
Perhaps the only people in Dublin Six.
Though maybe down the road in Milltown
Certain old Jesuits are brooding on the matter.
The Mucross girls are seventeen, or so.
Oh OK they could be fifteen but if I write that down
My wife will delete the poem, she is ruthless.
So we’ll stick to seventeen, it’s more polite.
I knew that blonde girl, with that ponytail
Some decades ago in Donegal.
Somewhere near Gortahork, at Irish College.
We sat on a turf stack, together, in the evening.
Listening to music coming from the ceile
In the village hall, the Walls of Limerick,
Watching the sun go down.
I will kiss this girl, I said,
(On the turf stack, not in Coffee Heaven)
That’s where I learned how to kiss a girl.
Later as I travelled
Through continents and countries
I found it a much more useful skill
Than Irish, or indeed, than the Walls of Limerick.
Not to mention a knowledge
Of Cathars, and the Albigensian Heresy.


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