Edmund Cahill: a poem for Father's Day...
She was trying to remember my name, the woman from the Department.
You're Edward Cahill, am I right?
Edmund Cahill, I corrected her. Ned of the Hills and Zen-Whistle, they call me.
I haven't seen you for some time, Edmund, she says.
It wouldn't be hard for you not to see me, I says. I'm after passing a long winter in the caravan, and that first day the heart acted up on me I thought the rats would be visiting and no one ever again would be seeing me either. Only I kept savage calm.
You kept savage calm, Edmund?
I did. Dangerous calm, and did in the village too when the pain came in the pub. A man at the bar wouldn't stop talking. Until it hit me like a shot I'd have to tell him stop if I was to keep calm.
What about next of kin, Edmund?
What you're askin' is would the wife have me back? Beatin' cobwebs out of the house that woman would be these days. The June light shows up every dirt. No, she won't be havin' me back. My allowance would be taken anyway if I went. I could kiss goodbye to Ned of the Hills and Zen-Whistle then too.
And would you consider sheltered accommodation, she asks?
Haven't I three sons in steel erection, I tell her. Who'll build houses for themselves on the place? And three daughters home carers around Roscrea. Anyway, I'll be headin' off for the Fleadh Cheoil one of these times. I'm fine on my own.
And how is that, Edmund?
How? Shouldn't I have been carried out in the wooden suit long ago? But I'm not because the day with the heart goin' pure dicky on me altogether, I drove myself into town and on my own climbed the length up of Luke's Hospital steps. How did I do it? Got out me zen-whistle. Played a quiet hornpipe. Kept savage calm.