St Patrick's, Newry Co.Down Notes

To My Father

Your hired father
tapped sharp chisels,
wiped granite flakes and dust
with hard hands,
gave form and purpose
to raw stone.

Eyes that judged the line
of cracks from driven wedges
were lidded with dark oak
before my cord was cut.
His spirit cannot gleam
in those blank eyes
staring from creased prints
in your pasteboard album;

but if it pierced time's skin,
moves the slow pen
that fills fresh pages,
then your blood brought from him
my living ink.


St. Patrick's Church, Newry
by Colin Turner
©1996 Cottage Publications
N. Ireland
BT21 0NG
+44 1247 883876
Used with permission

Notes on the poem:

My paternal grandfather, Elisha Dodds, was a stone mason

The building on the corner (centre picture) was Billy O'Hara's pub
at the bottom of the street where I grew up