There's nothing like music,
certainly nothing like the music in Enniscorthy,
cracked and sobbing republican songs
sung in the face of the Black and Tans.
Those murdering bastards from Glasgow slums,
for what they did to the priests,
nothing like the tuneless drone from upstairs
and a curse on the morning for what they did.
Each night we breathed a drunk's mythology,
the English officer and sweet colleen;
the drone's in the air around me still
though he's in the ground nine months now.
When my mother was dying I was strong,
I hit first and faced him down
all my years boyed up against him,
but for all that it's like he never was.
An alcoholic given to violence;
a thief; an abuser of his children;
an arsonist who was finally sectioned:
each term I secure for clarity.
Where's that Johnny Corcoran,
the little Irish man with all the kids?
He is gone, gone, gone,
four daughters and a son angry with a dead man.
Gone, gone, gone.
This poem is included in Kelvin Corcoran's ‘New and Selected Poems' available from Shearsman.