Dick Carmody was born in Listowel, Co.Kerry. He grew up in nearby townland of Derry from where he attended Clounmacon National School from 1950 to 1958. He worked for over 40 years in education administration and management in Dublin, Galway and Tralee. He now resides in Tralee. In 2012 he published ‘In the Shadow of the School – memories of growing up in rural North Kerry in the 1950`s.
God’s Acre bids me enter through the well trodden stile of crafted limestone
Man’s handiwork separating the living from the dead, the busy from the rested
Therein repose the remains of the unmentioned, unlisted and oft forgotten
In distant times of want, denial and inhumanity they came here for final rest
Alone they sometimes sought it out, cold refuge against an even colder neglect
Last faltering steps taken to meet their Maker in the soft embrace of Mother Earth
Or in make-shift carts a final journey shared from workhouse or roadside refuge
Drawn over limestone paths by souls rehearsing their own inevitable last journey.
In our own time of plenty and opportunity we still seek out this relic from the past
Stepping inside from a world speeding by, we each find our own personal recess
Arriving to repose the burdens of our living with the memories of those deceased
The Stations, the Grotto, the Altar and the Cross all give us comfort on our way
Departing we are relieved, comforted and renewed by this sanctuary to our dead
God surely chose his Acre wisely, its great value not being of our choice or making.
*God’s Acre, Tralee – a burial plot of unmarked graves dating back to times of famine and other tragic circumstances
…….companion for a reluctant gardener.
Reluctantly I kneel to tend my garden, derived of some pride, devoid of great pleasure
Painstakingly I toil to keep apace of mother nature, as weeds compete with work rate
Then I am suddenly less aware on my ownliness, a companion ever present at my side
The Robin makes his predictable welcome appearance to distract from my discomfort.
Red-breasted, he sits proud upon the boundary wall to watch my laboured movement
Takes pride in that he fanned the fire in Bethlehem’s stable to keep the Baby warm
And how the flames had burned his then colourless breast to testify his zealousness
Or was it when he pulled the thorn from Jesus’ brow on his way to cross on Calvary
And now carries his blood-stained feathers as if to show his favoured ranking.
At arms length he follows my every move, often playing hide and seek with me
Standing tall or sometimes with head erect, motionless he stares me eye to eye
I could believe him God-sent, no other bird in sight in hedgerow or on leafless tree
Or is it just that he sees me as his meal-ticket, as I gather and discard the fallen leaves
Exposing tasty morsels in the unfrozen ground to help him cope with winter’s worst.
I move along, hunched on bended knee, he follows cautiously close behind, beside
Sometimes out of sight, I seek him out again and know I will not be disappointed
For sure enough he’s back again here, there and everywhere, not taken for granted
Now gardening is less of a chore as I’m gifted a companion, my new forever friend.