Sunday morning memories

A tousled beldam at the bar, taking snuff and ale,
belching like a bullfrog and leering at the swains
who come to swill their liquor after church.

‘Does your mammy know you’re here?’ says the beldam with a sneer,
to a youthful churl who orders rum and coke.

The churl turns vivid scarlet and looks the other way,
while the beldam cackles hoarsely and orders up a tray
of inky pints of Guinness and two drams.

Everywhere you go, grey stone walls and graveyards,
and everywhere you look, the Virgin Mary.
Farmers’ sons and stone-cold nuns, as mad as Tipperary.



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