The Photograph of Aero Lyons

by Marian Relihan

The house knows its son is dead.
The stopped clock struck twelve times,
marking his fall to the spiked rocks
outside Dumfort’s cave.
The cackle of machine-gun
made death certain.
His greyhound whines
in tune with the Scaraveen
that howls down to the hearth,
keening for another blood sacrifice.
He will never brighten the half door again.

Mother, how did you live your years,
carrying stones of grief in your belly?
Did you get comfort from
his beloved greyhound?
Did you survey the sky
over Kerry Head,
wondering if the stars mocked you?
Did you know which side
your neighbours took
as you walked to Mass
to pray for his soul
in hope that he was in Heaven?

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in a Poetry as Commemoration workshop held at Kerry County Museum in September 2023. The workshop was led by writer John W. Sexton.