Kevin McManus

Kevin McManus is a poet-writer from Leitrim in Western Ireland. He has published six novels, a collection of short stories and two books of poetry. His most recent poetry book called “The Hawthorn Tree” was published by Lapwing Publications, Belfast.  His poems have been published in various journals including the Honest Ulsterman , the Galway Review, Impspired and the Lothlorien journal. 

Voices lost in the wind

I call your name, but it gets lost in the rising wind,
your tears are drowned in the driving rain,
your face is fading in the fog of time. 

Looking out to sea with the cold seeping into your skin, 
thoughts like waves drifting from what might have been, 
with the briny taste of the sea in your mouth, 
and the far-off storm in your faraway eyes.

The bridge of sorrows

Forced to leave Donegal 
with a belly full of suffering
and a hunger for hope.

On foot, the long road for Muckish gap
from Falcarragh to Kilmacrenan
towards the port of Derry
and a six-week passage on board the Cornelia
for Ellis Island.

Saying farewell to loved ones
upon the bridge of sorrows
that spans a river of tears.
One last look into their faces
to capture the eyes, they will never see again
one last grasp to hold them before painfully letting go,
their mother’s cries upon the bridge will haunt them,
and come to them in the dark of a New York night.

Sacred Heart

Heavy, thick and humid, late summer weather. 
standing for a moment resting on the car door 
looking towards the house,
dull red brick broken with splashes of colour 
from flower filled window boxes and hanging baskets, 
water dripped from them, 
the yard was grey but clean and washed. 

Walking towards the front gate, 
nervous, anxious,
humming a familiar song to distract himself,
knocking twice and standing back, 
Waiting, shuffling feet,
an opened door, 
a small woman stood, wiping herself with a tea towel, 
she stared and then smiled,
stretching out her welcome hand.

Following her down the dark narrow hall,
crosses and relics on the wall,
the sacred heart lit up.

In the kitchen a stout man was peeling the skin off hot spuds, 
he didn’t get up from his chair 
and just continued his task, 
keeping his eyes focused on the job in hand.
An apology from the visitor from coming at a bad time,
he took the tea and fruit cake slice,
as his brother forked green cabbage around the plate
an awkward silence hung in the air,
until the dinner was finished,
until he was ready.

“Are you home for long?” 
“A fortnight.” 
“Where you stayin?”
“At McMahon’s, It’s a fine place”
“You could have stayed here.”
“I know … but”
“But what?”
“It’s for the best that I don’t”
“Are you still driving the machinery over beyond”   
“I am, there is still plenty of work”
“You must be making good money”
“Not too bad, but you earn it, long days.”
“Your over there twenty years now”
“I am”
“Would you not come home; 
you have your money made?”
“Come home to what?”
“To where you belong”
“Where is that?”

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