Sibling Revelry

The more we mature, the smaller the age-gap becomes.

What’s six or seven or twelve or eleven years? A wrinkle

in time, like the laughter lines we will exchange

for the furrows three lifetimes have carved on our countenance.

We went to each other’s weddings, the graduations,

children’s baptisms, nuptials, our parents’ obsequies,

one for a husband. Food and drink and more food

and much laughter. The craic was good, the songs were raucous,

the jokes were bellyache-making, the welcome was wide.

Remember when?’ ‘Oh, aye!’ ‘Were you not there?’

I wasn’t bloody born, ya big buck-eejit!’ ‘Right enough!’

Oh, here we go!’ Someone drags out photos.

Groans and moans at sixties fashion, seventies faux-pas,

eighties hairstyle horrors, curly perms. You ironed your hair

between sheets of brown paper when Julie Covington

sang of Wheels of Fire. A fiery maiden before that

when the coal fire caught your locks and made me scream.

You brushed it off. ‘I thought my head was warm!’

I’d steal your Mills and Boone, your Dennis Wheatley,

Jackie Magazines and, once, more bold, those yellow jeans.

The eldest taught the elders about wine, and brought

the Tears of Christ from Roman holiday for us to wonder.

She was enlightened, so I learned of yoghurt, capsicum,

Blend 37, fenugreek and words like ‘pseudonym,’

exacerbate,’ ‘debilitate’ and ‘Quattro Stagione.’

We each have had our sorrows, stresses, niggles, pains,

perturbances and plights. Long-overdue carousing

must be on the cards! Let’s find a window, synchronise

our schedules, plan a get-together some time soon

before it’s late, and we are later, and our time is past.

First published in Star Tips for Writers

Wotan’s Lament

Daughter of my will, you are seduced.

Unbounded love’s terrible sorrow has cursed

Your stern detachment. I have lost my first

My greatest joy. No more will you produce

The mead Warfather takes from your strong hand

With pride in queen commander of that band

Of warrior maids no god or man can smite

Now wild emotion robs you of that right.

For honour I must exile you, but swear

I will not leave you long abandoned there

Upon the mountain bare. I’ll cast a spell;

Brunnhilde will sleep deep, and will sleep well

Encircled by a ring of raging fire

Till Siegfried wakes you with his cool desire.

First published in Star Tips For Writers Issue 117