Monday, June 27, 2011

Ode to Josephine

Ode to Josephine, an executors tale (mp3)

Ode to Josephine
An executor’s tale

Her eyes looked out
but she could not see,
her face alert, listening.
Her body engaged, waiting
for a sound
a voice
a scent.

She hid her blindness well.

Now that I recall,
she verged on vagueness.
“That colour suits you”
she would say,
or “your hair is nice today”.
Her focus always deflected.
she was skilfully complimentary.
Childlike during visits
her happiness infectious,
she was an intelligent woman
who could converse on any subject.

Listening to the radio
was her life.

Forever questioning
interested and engaged
she was a gentle soul,
naive in her kindness.
a smiling disposition,
she adored her family.
With no children of her own
she followed the lives
of her nieces and nephews.
She was the aunt
of all aunts.

She lived in hope
that someday she would return home
to Ireland.

On a dark November day
at the age of 90,
she slowly passed away.

We took the boat to Fishguard,
time to bring her home.
At a church service in Wales,
after a lifetime of living there,
we were the only mourners.

Finally at home,
at her funeral in Cork
family and friends gathered
to say “goodbye”.

As they passed by her coffin,
touching her hands
her face
loving gestures,
I silently wondered why
They did not touch her
when alive.

An occasional visit
would have made her day,
her weeks, her years,
for she loved them so much.
There was something
for everyone in her will.

After the funeral,
while cleaning out her home
I found her diary.
Her name on the front
the word “private” underlined.
I opened it
reading snippets
on macular degeneration.

It is a diary
of a woman’s struggle,
her fears and realities
of going blind.
A life with an alcoholic husband,
a wife beater.

My eyes welled up
with sadness
when I thought of her isolation
so many years of darkness,
seeing the deterioration
in her words written on the page.
And of Uncle Bill
his military beatings
when drunk.

A diary of 30 years
of gradual stages of blindness,
her life's secrets held in my hands.
I held it close to my heart.
I continue to hold it close
remembering her beauty,
happy to have at least
brought her home.

27 June 2011 © Maire Morrissey-Cummins

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