Berni Dwan teaches journalism, history, English literature and creative writing in Dublin. Her web site is a response to news developments and the capricious vagaries of life. This is done through satirical essays, articles and poetry. Her work has featured on RTE 1’s Sunday Miscellany, Lyric FM’s Quiet Corner, Writers.ie and the Bogmanscanon.ie. The only object in life that she desperately wants to own is a working time machine. Interested in the past; curious about the future; she doesn’t want to live forever; will keep putting new words in the little black book until she runs out of words. She is disenchanted with lazy and sloppy mistakes regularly heard on our primary radio stations and she can’t get her head around the fact that ghost-written sports biographies are now classed as literature.
She’s a curmudgeonly old fuss pot. There’s no real harm in that, is there? Read more at her website oldfilibuster.com
Suburban Park at Dusk in February
Singular elderly ladies get a walk in before dark
Wanting to shorten the gnawing loneliness of an Irish winter evening
Their only companions the flame in the grate; the flicker in the corner
Some might indulge in feline or canine company
Something to mind; to feed; to look after
They are sprightly though
And gaze nostalgically at solitary young mothers fresh from city offices
Already conflicted with the responsibilities of relentless parenthood
Waiting for Daddy to come home; with corporate scandal; water cooler gossip
Some wine will dull the monotony; temper the guilt
You can start again tomorrow; do your Valley of the Dolls act
You heroically mother alone while you friends tread the career catwalk
Delicately balancing fertility and biological clocks
The trickiest scientific formula they have ever tested
They only admit to it when they are drunk.
Middle-aged ladies still brush uncomfortably close
To these personifications of their former selves.
Still feel remnants of it when they pass iconic landmarks –
Stout tree branches – saddled horsies
Bringing outlaws from Sherwood Forest to Nottingham
Little streams taking Sailor Bear out to the ocean in a paper boat
For adventures beyond his wildest imaginings
Elves and sprites living in the undergrowth
And squirrels in jackets entertaining rabbits in waistcoats
In snugly furnished hollow trees.
Tall oaks carrying Hobbits through Middle Earth –
A ‘One hundred acre wood’ of escapades for their progeny.
Young mothers will go home and wait in modern kitchens
Against a backdrop of cartoons, sticky story books
And that soft, warm little creature; object of their complete love.
Elderly ladies will go home to
Hollow houses – former dynasties – warrens of rumbustious doings –
Memories and regrets ricocheting off the dated wallpaper and carpets.
Middle-aged ladies will go home; not quite buoyant but
Glad yet strangely sad they are not stranded in the isolation of new motherhood
But uncomfortably close to a house too big for one.
The pall of a February dusk makes everything achingly clear.