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May 18

Memory shapes that summer
in its own image

the long days of sun
forgetting the rainy ones.

My little one asking
again and again

for "the puddle poem"
and so Christ

rising from the 7th Century
old Irish words

stands like her
barely five.

Blesses the puddles
He had made.

She blesses them the same
with great childish show.

Watches amazed as He
creates birds out of mud.

SeesΒ them fly away
at the touch of his voice.

This her excuse
for the scattering of mud.

She sees herself
a Christ

and how words
can create birds

made of the mind
that fly beyond time.
If I was listening to Joyce she would come and listen to his Finnegans Wake with me...not the least put out by the difficulty and dexterity but the dance of sound even without meaning.

So that summer and I reading old Irish poems from a long ago that had long vanished she would pick up on that...loving the seventh century THE BOYHOOD OF CHRIST and how Christ and her could be the same grand age of barely five. And when she looked into the reflections in a mud puddle she could reenact the poem in her mind and be at one with Him in something she could understand. A Christ in a mud there was the Christ for her to be be a playmate with.

She also liked the baise fri tΓ³in( slap on the ***)epigram AN INSULT from the ninth century amazed that there could be someone called anonymous and how some words could win you horses and some words win you...cows!

I hear
he won't give horses for poems.
He gives what his style allows:

But her great favourite was Pangur BΓ‘n with the cat and the monk getting along famously and to be content with each other and the work they had to do...the one chasing down words...the other...mice.

She also was a one for modern Irish-isms such as "Are ya stuck in a shuck( stuck in a ditch )purely for the sound of it and appreciated the sardonic phrase "I will...yea!" meaning "I won't no!"

And the phrase " Ahhh it will take donkey's years to do that" she always heard as "donkey's ears" and made her howl with laughter.


When He was barely five
Jesus, the Son of God,
blessed twelve water puddles
He moulded out of clay.

He made a dozen birds
-the kind we call the sparrow-
He made them on the Sabbath,
perfect, out of clay.

A Jew there criticized Him
-Jesus, the Son of God-
and to His father Joseph
took Him by the hand.

"Joseph, correct your son,
he has committed wrong.
He made clay shapes of birds
upon the Sabbath day.

Jesus clapped His palms,
His little voice was heard.
Before their eyes -a miracle-
the little birds flew off.

The sweet, beloved voice was heard
from the mouth of Jesus pure:
"So they will know who made you
off with you to your homes."

A man who was there told everyone
the wonderful affair
and overheard they all could hear
the singing of the birds.
Donall Dempsey
Written by
Donall Dempsey  Guildford
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