Poetry, Catherine Cronin
In memory of Nan
There’s a version of you under Clery’s clock
where the path beneath your feet
runs off the paper edge into my indefinite lifeline.
Only in the city by prescription,
you probably blessed yourself at its limits.
This uncandid shadow is revealing.
Your thick auburn hair lightened
with the sepia sun, is shouldered
by a good coat that cloaks your breast pain
and shields you from the unfamiliar urban chill.
I prefer to picture you back home making crosses.
Not the one we’ve had to bear -
but an ancient one of stellar green,
root-bound at rivers, bent into shape
by pallid need and faithful care.
A gift for you from Brigid
to prevent a time for keening,
to heal with the feminine,
to protect without submission.
Easing the cross of women.
For you, the story of our broken genes
came too late. That hidden burden
carried to your young grave
as a warning of what would be
inherited through blood and gut.
The goddess. The granny. The saint.
Once held in more desperate palms.
Now, word of you passes on through word of mouth
and whispered prayers to save me and all your future girls.
Catherine Cronin is an Irish writer currently living in Zurich, Switzerland. After a breast cancer diagnosis in 2018, writing became essential for coping with her new way of living. Themes of femininity, home, mythology, and mortality feature in her work. Catherine has written plays for the Swiss and Irish stages and is now working on her first poetry collection.