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Fleur Adcock

My great-grandfather Richey Brooks

began in mud, at Moneymore:

‘A place of mud and nothing else’

he called it (not the way it looks,

but what lies under those green hills?)

Emigrated in ‘74;

ended in Drury; mud again —

slipped in the duckrun at ninety-three

(wouldn’t give up keeping poultry,

always had to farm something.)

Caught pneumonia; died saying

‘Do you remember Martha Hamilton

of the Oritor Road ?’ — still courting

the same girl in his mind. And she

lived after him, fierce widow,

in their daughter’s house; watched the plumtree —

the gnarled, sappy branches, the yellow

fruit. Ways of living and dying.


From Poetry Nation No 1 (1973)