| return to contents |



Black and Tan

My grandmother knew the opening scrape
of her front gate was not a friend,
told us she remembered staying perfectly still,
his hard steps crunching through her.

She didn’t remember his face,
how long he stood in her kitchen,
what lies or truths she uttered
while my infant aunt gurgled in her cot.

She did remember his words:
I have a little girl like this at home, myself.

For sixty-three years she stepped over
the spot on her flagged floor
where the Black and Tan had stood.

(previously published in STUDIES, Ireland, print journal, 2001)

Old Silver

Her cup has been stolen again.
Last time she’d been lucky,
the police found it in a ditch
on a neighbour’s farm.

If it turns up this time
her family can no longer enjoy
its sheen, her story repeats:

being the only woman
on the team that rowed
to victory – August 11th, 1928;

because her taut arms have softened,
and hardened, pink lips whitened. She’s
dead as the crack-man rows to new prey.

(previously published in The Poet Tree, England, circa 1999)


Copyright © 2009 Noel King

Noel King

Noel King was born and lives in Tralee, Ireland. His poems, haiku, Short stories, reviews and articles have been published in over thirty countries. His debut collection, Prophesying the Past, appears from Salmon in 2010.