I come from silence
except when my grandad sang the first verse of Slievenamon.
I come from piety
except when my father cursed God for taking Christopher and Sean.
I come from harshness
except when teacher read The Little Waves of Breffni
and I was entranced by the old tales my mother told me.
I come from community
except when the neighbours’ sheep destroyed our young oats.
I come from faith
except for the silver-paper covered horseshoe above the hall door.
I come from hardship
except when the big yellow van restocked the school library
and when we roamed free over hills, jumped streams, climbed trees.
I come from sadness
except by the big river with my father and brothers, fishing.
I come from isolation
except when I read newspaper reports of the Munich air crash.
I come from solitude
except for the raggle of football in the raucous schoolyard.
and when friends filled the house – tea, sweetcake, porter, cards.
I come from Sligo
except when my grandchildren wear their county colours.