I once heard them call her the weak one,
The youngest, the runt of the pack.
Without grace they said, weak-boned
Hen-chested, round backed.
Taken away from her mother perhaps
Taken away too soon?
Taken away from family
And the comforts of her home.
I loved her, I love her still,
It was never a slight for me
To get the sharpness of her tongue
Or the sting of her repartee.
Dympsy pink, eau de nil!
Mauve and duck egg blue.
Cherry trees in the late spring
From the veranda viewed.
Garlic flowers in the woods behind
And the heady perfume of bells.
I gathered up armfuls in April days
Of the blueing crooks in the dell.
Now all I have is the ground I stand on,
That and nothing more.
And fast fading memories of our walks
On the lough's grey stoney shore.
And the smell of tweed skirt from Donegal,
Damp in the moist-laden air.
With a whiff of the essence of violets
That told you the aunt had been there.