Fresh faced, lively, always ahead.
Never looking sideways, instead
you threw a horseshoe in my path.
‘But I need four’. You didn’t laugh,
intend on the adventure trail.
Your childhood games would never fail
to catch my fancy. Red Riding Hood,
you led me into a dark wood.
But I was grabbed by the Green Hand
before the wolf could get me, and
you faced his sharpened appetite.
Some would say it served you right.
The mercy mission was bogus.
We hadn’t a granny known to us
So, the quest was to no avail.
This life is not a faery tale
Horse riding brought you down to earth.
But you preferred boats. The wide berth
of Dublin Bay did not daunt you
as long as you were your own crew.
You had further horizons than
most people, with your imagination
often stretched beyond what could be
reached. You set your own reality.
Nora, my middle sister, goodbye.
We didn’t always see eye to eye,
I being behind you. As a boy
you were my leader, my envoy
into a world beyond my grasp.
I wish to follow your last gasp
to where you imagined, a place
of surprise, but at my own pace.
There crying wolf is not a need.
And no one questions a good deed.
Beasts of prey and humans aren’t confused.
Souls with benevolence are enthused.
Indulgence is an impulse that is pure
and simple; having the allure
of an April shower for spring flowers.
Time is counted in thoughts not hours.
On Dalkey Hill you saw it coming:
above you the clouds were running;
the sun broke through with its last rays;
and as twilight fell you were raised
by a ‘disembodied joy that came
from nowhere’; airy nothings reign
in the still of night so a bird
can lighten its thrill to be heard.
My truculent friend of later years
your hug was a hearty assurance
that the brave rise above present fears:
trust in life’s goodness and take your chance.
You were the ring-mistress of all moods,
veering from joy at the merry dance
we lead ourselves, to robust etudes
at the gracelessness that’s sometimes mans.
Your eye caught people off-guard to guess
how they’d like to look. But being less sure
of yourself, you emoted an excess
that made friendship with you an adventure.
Your world was made for the dove release
of music, Mozart to fanfare bands.
Tooting your clarinet brought you peace,
and books. Cliff-hangers were your romance.
For a big woman you had small hands.
Not made I think to wipe away tears,
but to wave cou-cou as you advance
your broad smile that grew younger with the years.
Adieu Jeanne Moreau
(1928 – 2014)
My jolie laide in darkest hues,
mood richly woven Biedermeier,
demure the lighting you chose
to knit yourself into a thick
suit so tight that it excludes air.
I’m breathless. You’re anaerobic.
Fully formed, and without stage fright,
you skipped past being an ingénue,
dancing like your mother the light-
fantastique, on your stage debut
at the Comedie, every night
taking your bow with a bored moue.
Ma Buckley taught you how to stamp:
Da, Antoine Desiré, how to hop:
And life, how to stand on your hands.
the world is upside down: so, stop
at nothing, girl, and take your chance
as Joan of Arc or a trollop.
Moreau, the New Wave saint of sin:
the maid who unmanned the master:
the go-go between Jules and Jim,
called Catherine (almost named after
your mother). My only regret
you never got to play Colette.
Years taught you not to act your age.
Scandal was your school: you couldn’t fail
to shock, and make the world your stage,
scaling life’s slippery spiral ramp
without a hand on the safety rail.
I wait to lick your postal stamp.