Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Among My Souvenirs


When our attic was converted
From pull-down ladder and
The occasional torch-lit cobweb
To make a bedroom for my brother,
A space of shelf was kept, a little alcove,
In which to store some books or other treasures.

But my brother kept his room, the one downstairs,
And so I took this new top-floor abode,
The room that fit two beds, en suite and shower,
The one built around the chimney, with an alcove.

At first it served its purpose well, this shelf:
I kept books and pens and other trinkets there.
But as time and holidays passed by
It soon was lost beneath piled-up sweet-wrappers.

When pressed I do clean it from time to time,
And after a while I had it more neatly ordered:
Photo albums took the place of empty cartons,
A shoebox added to hold old notes on paper.

A row of cases on the middle shelf
Displays my medals, fruit of matches won,
Above some scattered public-transport tickets
Kept from different places where I’ve gone.

There’s an old lamp of my Nana’s (with a new bulb)
And still a place for books (both read and not),
A packet of “Love Hearts” sweets (never opened)
From a youth club party otherwise forgot,

A collection of old copybooks kept
After four successive summers in
The Gaeltacht, the contact details of “friends”
Not seen once since still held safely within,

Souvenirs, each holding close-to-equal parts
Within my head’s swirling thoughts and
Memories valued in my heart,
Like fields divided on a hillside
Round the castle on that island,
A microcosm of early manhood.

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