Patrick Fenton – County Galway

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Patrick Fenton was born in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn on St Patrick’s Day. His father was born on “the Long Walk” in Galway, Ireland. Fenton has a writing career as a journalist. His work has been published in magazines and books, including the New York Times, New York Newsday, The Daily News, and New York Magazine. He has recently finished writing another play based on a collection of short stories  about the working-class Irish American neighborhood he grew up in during the 50’s and 60’s, Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, titled, “Stoopdreamer and Other Brooklyn Stories.” The Cell Theatre in the Chelsea section of New York will be putting it up this winter. The Irish actor, Ciaran Byrne will be playing Billy Coffey. Fenton’s writing has been published in numerous writing anthologies including, “The Irish, a Treasury of Art and Literature,” and the “Book of Irish Americans.” He is also a frequent contributor to The Irish echo newspaper based in Manhattan.

COUNTY GALWAY

Going to Ireland for the first time at 65,
going back where I have a home,
because it is my mother’s home, so it is
mine, Williamstown, September. Driving
through Tuam from Galway City in a
rented car to get there, rain always,
heading for the farm she was born on,
old black and white picture of her as
a young girl standing in her wellies in
front of a thatched cottage in my shirt
pocket. Beside her, her brother, her
father, the rest of the Mitchell family.
Her image, her youth, is caught forever
in that 1913 faded, photo. Stared at it
on flight over, Air Lingus, drinking
Jameson. So innocent looking, not
knowing that there’d come a day
when she would be going to America,
Brooklyn, 17th Street. Giving birth to
me on a far away Saint Patrick’s day,
1941.

Driving past the long rowed, fields, through
the silent, Sunday streets of the small towns
along the way. Her towns, her fields, her
silence. Heading to the still standing, old
wall of the thatched cottage she was born
in, where she stood once for a family picture,
the white wash all gone now the years of rain,
and the mortar holding on keeping the stone
brick together, past the pubs with their finished
kegs rowed up against the bright blues and greens
of the buildings, stopping at the lone grocery store
where they sell brown bread and thick slices of Irish
cheese, if you are hungry, and I am.

Up the countryroad she walked as a child, I walk too.
My cousin’s husband gives me a small brick from the
wall. I will put it on my writer’s desk. And, yes, I will
have a cup of Lyon’s Tea and a Jamison too. It is my
mother’s home,so it is mine. I am home now.

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