My heart is an empty nest, all feelings
fledged and flown. I yearn for the warmth
St. Kevin felt when the blackbird settled,
nested in his hand, laid her clutch of eggs.
Oh, the cold dark stare of the under-earth,
growing its cold chill upwards through feet and knees,
and the winter branch stiffness of hands frozen
into concrete branches, week after week, until
the blackbird’s eggs are hatched and fledged.
No saint am I. Just a father deprived of his distant
child, of his granddaughter developing, growing
older and wiser without him there to help her
on her way, or hinder, as old men often do,
unaware of the changing times and the ferocious
pull of new ideas, new tides, the swashbuckling
effects of the new world now upon us, a world
we oldlings, so long ago fledged and flighted,
will never understand nor grasp. How could we?
And yet that hand stretches out from the window
of the cells that hold us, bind us, imprison us,
and make us realize how strong are the wings
of love that flutter in our ageing hearts.