Our New HouseA weeping stone in the tiny front room
seeped through da's new wallpaper,
and somewhere a cracked sewer
drove staleness through the house.
They'd found him dead behind the door,
Mr Black, red tiles and a bust organ from Ohio
on sunken floorboards. Newspapers
from the thirties were pinned to the walls,
gaslamps lit the news of Poland's fate.
The council men had cleared the park of stones,
given him his own scree in a bleak back yard.
And all those years he'd spent alone,
seen occasionally limping down the hill,
black hat, black coat, black walking-stick,
tapping his way past Billy O'Hara's bar,
and feared by the kids who played tig in the street.
He'd worked on the railway all his live-long days,
drawn a pension, gone to church Sunday mornings;
and he haemorrhaged one evening, still alone,
across an old deal table in the hall.