Máire Malone is an Irish poet and novelist who writes poignant, heartfelt, and nostalgic poems about her memories of her Irish childhood.
Today we will explore three of her poems, dedicated to the memory of her Irish dad, as we continue to remember those who have gone before us this November.
These three poems touched my heart, as Máire celebrates the simple life and faith filled legacy of her Irish father. Her words capture how much her father meant to her, while remembering him as a kind, loving and supportive man.
These poems illustrate the nurturing roles our fathers play in our lives. Even after Máire's father has passed away, her loving words and simple memories of Irish life, make it clear that he will live in her heart and memory forever.
When my brother phoned to say you’d died
I was a child again running down the lane
For your ounce of condor or packet of gilettes
Knowing you’d say keep the sixpence change.
As I packed to come home for your funeral
I thought of you tying up bundles of papers
Under the stairs and the times I had come down
To the kitchen late at night and caught you
Kneeling by the sideboard quietly praying.
After your funeral, back at the house,
Mum saw your suit just hanging there
And cracked up.
My children talk of you a lot
It hurts my throat when my son says
He remembers exploring the wart on your nose.
By Máire Malone
In Memory of my Father
He always nipped his trousers at the knees before
Dropping on the linoed floor
One hand spun a web across his tired face
The other looped the threaded beads Hail Mary full of grace
Strained whispers hovered round his bony frame
Well at least he’s not in pain
We said one decade in his name
I never spoke to him again
We turned to leave his white starched face
Hail Mary full of grace
Tired eyelids flickered prayers well said
Two weeks later he was dead
His body a discarded glove
Underneath the vibrant hand still looped the threaded beads of love
By Máire Malone
On Saturday afternoons
We’d step it out to dancing class
Leaving you to scrub the kitchen floor
Like Cinderella Man
Whistling Galway Bay
On Saturday nights
You’d polish all our shoes
Until your simple faith shone out at us
As if our gleaming feet could set us on some righteous path
I will remember your last days forever
My sister teasing yoghurt through tissued lips
Sustaining hope even in that eleventh hour
But on the stroke of death no magic fairy came
Waiving your return to dust
At your graveside
I heard the tune of Galway Bay
Whistling on the wind
Marching you on
Towards some sacred place
By Máire Malone
(Prizewinner in an anthology of poems in memory of Freda Downie by Ver Poets 1997 entitled ‘The Fledgling Bird’)
About Máire Malone
Máire Malone was born and reared in Dublin, Ireland's capital city. As a young woman she worked as a medical secretary.
When she moved to the UK, she studied Arts and Psychology, leading her to a career in Counselling and Psychotherapy.
She loves to write and recently published her first novel, The Dream Circle.
Her poetry has been selected and published by Ver Poets and other anthologies, including collections published by Robin Barratt.
Her short stories have received prize wins in Scribble magazine. One of her short stories was shortlisted in Words and Women Competition, 2018.
She is currently writing a novel about the Irish Famine. She lives in Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom with her husband.
Thank You Máire
Many thanks to Máire for sharing her poetry with us today. I hope her words will bring back warm memories for readers of Irish American Mom, who recognize and understand the stalwart simplicity and dedication of many Irish fathers.