A Star Falling

The days disappeared in attendance on small tasks
Never a truer word was spoken she said

Ominous rain over Nun’s Island
The shy smile, crooked with self-consciousness
If a thousand years were to pass in an instant 
What would be left of us?

I think of them often
Decent people
And wonder what they would make of it all now
Afraid as they were of even a knock on the door

What would you say to him if you had the chance today?
Her finger waywardly pointing towards the coffee cup
An unfaithful tremor taunting us both
Memories fading with anger and resignation

The town clock still three minutes off jolts us back
He said I’ll live another few years, didn’t he?
I left the money on the table 
And nudged her towards home

Markeen Anderson said it best
Tears in his eyes
They were the finest people
Decent stock … leave me alone now

The surface of the water out from the reeds was alive with shoals of small fish
There’s no use in a star falling and no one seeing it and no one making a wish.

I met novelist John McGahern at the 1990 Galway Arts Festival at the Arts Centre in Nun’s Island. He had met my father briefly in the sixties. Many years later, my mother randomly brought this memory to mind at a time when memory was most precious.