Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Family Folklore

How fragile are these threads of gossamer
Stretched from one generation to the last,
Or to the next, or just from year to year;
The rock-hard scones, the lecture in Belfast,
The day your father just escaped the blast,
Summer on summer spent in Inisheer.
A history without a chronicler,
A hardly-known and all-but-endless past.

In almost every house in every street
In every town, in all the world, these scenes
Would mean as little as a doorless key;
They are like the familiar face we meet
In some strange place, or like the name that means
Nothing to all the world-- but all the world to me.


  1. Wonderful! Have printed out for permanent retention and because it is too good to be read on a screen.

    'Doorless key', rather than 'keyless door' is an interesting choice, and that really does memories that mean nothing to those who come after.

    1. Thank you very much! I was pleased with this, and it's one of the very rare occasions where a poem I posted on Facebook had a good reception (they are usually ignored!).

      However, I think I failed a little when it comes to "doorless key". What I meant to suggest was that our family memories are irrelevant to the vast majority of people in the world, that is, not our family or our family friends. But another comment on Facebook makes me think the more natural interpretation is that people quickly forget family memories....which would fit with my reference to fragile gossamer...oh well....I'm just happy people like it!!