For the six Irish students who died in Berkeley
A poem by Michael O'Loughlin
We watch our children go: so much
brighter than us, so much more beautiful
they seem sometimes like a new kind of being.
We stand in airports and watch them go
bustling towards the future, hoping they
will not turn to see us still standing there.
How often this nation has watched
its children go into uncertainty, but
we know this is different - we know they will
come back to lives which will be shining.
Still, until they do, our sleep is different,
the telephone never rings
without a black fist gripping our hearts,
fleetingly, until we hear their voices.
Now, the worst news has come
and hardly a home in Ireland
does not feel that black fist's grip.
Their pain is theirs alone, but on this day
we are the parents, their children ours,
we are all watching them go,
joyfully saying goodbye in airports,
rushing towards the light
so much brighter than us,
so much more beautiful.