What Can You Say?

by PJ Brady

What can you say when you can say nothing?
When your own family history
passed by your childhood
in the ad hoc foster home, unknown.

Why the brainstorm of republican revolution daily,
on the telly, engulfed the scenes,
substances and odours of our imagination,
leaving us, the neighbour’s children,
amazed, dazed and confused to oblivion.

This was not our family story,
but a schizophrenic opera
being played away from home.

Perhaps our own family history,
starting when I found
a Civic Guard’s star badge insignia
lying in the dust in dirt,
on our street at our own home
in Killawella, Crossdoney, County Cavan.

How did that get there?
Who lost his cap?
Why, when, and why then?


Reproduced with kind permission of the author.

PJ Brady is a member of the Fatima Poetry Vigilantes. This poem was composed in a Poetry as Commemoration workshop led by Catherine Ann Cullen in July 2022.