Monday, June 20, 2011

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Country Cafeteria

The two weeks
I spent in that small town
on assignment, I saw no blacks
except for two older women
regal in every way,
hair coifed in silver gray,
working in the Country Cafeteria.
They walked like pastors’ wives
as they bused their 20 tables.
White badges on their uniforms
announced in red their names,
their years of service.
They never said a word,
not even to each other.
They just took the cups and plates away
and wiped oil tablecloths pristine.
I took three meals a day in silence there,
the only place in town to eat.
I was the stranger in a suit and tie,
a city weed among stout farmers in old coveralls
who came to town each day to note
“no rain yet” and “the corn is dyin’.”
Before each meal instead of saying Grace,
I wanted to stand and ask these ladies
as they bowed before the clutter on their tables:
If you have worked here all these years,
and lived in this town also,
where in the Name of God,
other than at home or church,
are you free to talk or laugh or sing
or clap your hands in emancipation?



Convention in Miami
for Gerard Manley Hopkins

Around his navel this morning
a halo, a red stipple
Hopkins would love:
"Glory be to God for dappled things..."

It's a gift from this woman
he doesn't know
who welcomed him last night
with open arms and open legs

and sent him back to his wife
this morning, unaware
he was bringing home a souvenir,
a bright halo of crab lice.



Whole and Steaming
Dingle, Ireland

The bathroom carpet,
wall to wall, is blue,
the lightest blue,
to complement
the bowl and ceiling.

Apropos the moment:
I bend the waist
and heave the gristle
from last evening's steak.

Tomorrow I shall row again
to see those ancient men
in caps and coveralls
stand like statues
while they talk
and tap gold embers
from clay pipes
forever glowing.

I'll go there
at the dinner hour
and see them once again
fork potatoes,
whole and steaming,
from big kettles filled
at dawn by crones
forever kerchiefed
and forever bent.

At dawn you hear
these women
sing their hymns
like seraphim
a cappella
as they genuflect and dip
big black kettles
in the sometimes still
sometimes foaming sea.



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Donal Mahoney, an immigrant from Chicago, lives in St. Louis, Missouri. He has had poems published in a variety of publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

1 comment:

  1. T. BOO PICKENS IS THE HO FOR CHILD " FUCKS"?
    DOES MEESE AND ROVE HEL WITH TED AND JEB?

    ReplyDelete