‘Where Once My Grandma Prayed’ © Joe Canning 2015. All Rights Reserved.

‘Where Once My Grandma Prayed’
© Joe Canning 2015. All Rights Reserved.

I ask myself Just how on Earth did my kinfolk survive?
Where once two struggling parents raised their family of nine.
Resisted leaving homeland to cross an ocean-wide,
for promises of riches to a new world and new life.

Where played five boys with sisters four outside the cabin door.
Where Grandpa worked his toiling hands and fingers to the bone.
Where Grandma scrubbed and laboured her large family to attend.
Raised those girls to women and raised those boys to men.

Until this day I’ve never seen my mother’s Irish home,
This home of love in wilderness to rot and ruin succumbs.
Where high upon the mantelpiece a Sacred heart still there,
where Grandma knelt at bedtimes to say her Irish prayers.
The ivy and the briar from the open roof fall free,
I sense there’s still a happiness amidst the strangling weed.
I’m not the best of Christians but there’s something’s telling me,
that maybe for a moment I should genuflect or kneel.

The presence of the picture has me humbled has me calm.
I feel a power that calls to me from those two nail pierced hands.
This place I’m glad I came to see where anchored are my roots,
that mother reminisced of as she strayed back to her youth.
I realise that what I am was made within these walls.
Where Grandma left the Guardian on the mantle ‘gainst the wall.
I’m thankful that I came to see where once my mother played
and the picture on the mantelpiece where once my Grandma prayed.

The O’Donnel Homestead, Galleny.
Gone But Not Forgotten.
Photo: Courtesy of Colly Barr

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