Ferry to an Irish Funeral

The staggering deck
Dips and stomachs us up
Laid between chair legs and tables.
Outside foam heckles the hull
Beneath, monotonous engines
Vibrate, loud as elephants.
A duty free crowd celebrate:
Perhaps homecoming?
Snuggling close, we try to ignore
The bellowed laughter.
Carpeted steel slams our backs,
Singing, liquid as Guinness,
Lulls us to sleep.

Bleak dawn through Customs.
The black of our clothes is a passport.
Then ordering wreaths, drinking tea.
Mourning through a haze of exhaustion.
There was hot soup
After the icy graveyard.
Return was a much calmer crossing.

Lynne Walsh.This poem won the first prize at the South Wales Miners’ Eisteddfod in 1996. The author is married to a Wexfordman and lives near Bridgend, about 20 miles west of Cardiff.

Published in The Green Dragon No 6, Spring 1998

Two more poems by Lynne Walsh