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Nov 2020

He runs
for the sheer joy

of being
a little boy.

I try to rein him in

with my voice but
he escapes even that.

"Watch out!"
I throw the words at him

"Or you'll hit
that cloud!"

Two clouds glower at him
and he stops in his tracks

suddenly uncertain if
that is possible.

And so perspective
cowers my little brother

and he runs back
holds my hand.

We tiptoe past
the threatening clouds

leaving them behind
he laughing nervously.

Now far far from that time
beyond even death

I call his name
and he runs and

takes my hand.

The clouds can only
look on.

It was only in death that Brian became my little brother again. He was able to make his way in the world easier than I and became the solid  dependable honest fellow he was able to deal with anything the world could throw at him so that in fact he became the "big brother." I on the other hand became a PIP( a poor Irish poet )stumbling from one thing to another trying to keep up with the world that was fast outpacing me. He was going to go for early retirement and move back home to look after our Da when he suddenly died. This planned retirement made him more open to the leisures and pleasures of poetry and he began to want to know how a poem happens and where it can come from. I told him ya know in frosty air ya can see your breath writing your words upon the air as if your soul was leaving your body and dancing with the stars upon a midnight...well it's a bit like organic becoming rather than any planned thing. Like a human spiderweb spun from your self. I said do you remember running away from me when you were a little boy and I called you back by putting the idea into your head that you might hit your head on a cloud? I  recited Ivor Gurney's IF I WERE TO WALK STRAIGHT SLAP and he saw how it was so that you could grow the most ordinary little moment in a life into a bunch of words that hung together to capture in sound a time that was gone and would never come again in exactly the same way or that a poem was the best time machine a chap could have.

After a while he could recite Gurney back to me and so started to keep poems in his head like a little room he could go into and treasure a moment again.


If I were to walk straight slap
Headlong down the road
Toward the two-wood gap
Should I - hit that cloud.

He also came to love Raymond Carver's LATE FRAGMENT. It always made him cry. This was the one and only thing he said he wanted. One night we waited in the dark for a fox that would invariably come to the glass door and stare if at us as if the other foxes dared him see what humans do in their little boxes. And Brian asked it....

"And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? I did. And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth."

I wasn't to know that friend fox was a psychopomp come to carry his soul away.

Later much later he became a card carrying member of some Cloud Association! Once when he was only his tiny self he asked me if "You die will there be weather?" I didn't know how to answer him and asked "How do you mean?" "Like...will there be clouds." Knowing no better I assured him that there would be! I still know nothing and he possibly knows everything.

I only hitting my head upon the clouds...talking to the skies.

I hope my little brother knew that he was beloved on this earth.
Donall Dempsey
Written by
Donall Dempsey  Guildford
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