After Mass, my gentle brother folded thoughts
and messages into paper boats, all sharp
angles and colours, to sail the muscling river.
No one could ever remember the Shannon
so high; racing mad between King John’s
and St Munchin’s quaking banks – where
we stood, empty and full of things unsaid.
Someone said a prayer, while others flicked
through well-thumbed pages of memory.
On the boardwalk, our Viking children ran;
Their longboats already heading out to sea.
With them I sent my first book of poetry;
With love to Mum and Dad. My mother now
among the new, my father among the old dead.
This poem is a response to the National Poetry Day 2016 theme, Messages, and has been specially commissioned by the Forward Arts Foundation.