A Chaplet of Roses

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My friend Vickie Maye is a Cork woman, and her husband Conor Ryan comes from Clare. When they had their fourth child, a girl named Ruby, I promised them a surprise gift. I read this poem for them during the Stories, Poetry and Dreams show in the Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, on 27 March 2015.
My Perfect Ruby
When I looked you in the eye
My perfect Ruby
I knew that you were here
To cure diseases
To change base metal into bars of gold
And to prolong my life indefinitely
A panacea
She lamped at me and said
‘See ya
On Pana!’
More precious than diamonds
I cupped your head in my hand
As you thrust into the cradle of my love
Glowing red hot with life
Supping at my breast
And I named you Ruby Ryan
After your dad
Who did the same
C’mere my perfect Ruby –
You took us by surprise girl
When you landed here la –
Da berries – a welcome gift like – on-real
Look at the gatch of you
Lying on your back with your doonchie arms in the air
A bold Cork ball-hopper all balmed out
And from the tocht in my throat
I knew my perfect Ruby
I just knew that as a family
When you ship arrived into the safe harbour of our Lee-side shore
That we were all haunted like
As I swaddle you with wealthy words from Cork
My desire for you girl
Is to create a limitless world of possibilities
In which you can play happily for an eternity
To construct a safe reality ring o’ rosie round you
Chainied up with loving language
From your mam and from your dad
That you can trust implicitly
Where as much as we can make it happen
You will be free to be yourself forever
To love and break boys’ hearts on Barracka
And to be loved unconditionally in return
My wish is as a young ruby woman
Blazing with light and rich with the Cork colours
You’ll never have to comply nor compromise yourself
Or worse withdraw from all that life’s adventure has to offer
My hope is when you fly the nest
You’ll inhabit your heritage
And soar with widespread wings of unconcern
To become a true rebel always
My perfect Ruby
O precious daughter of mine
She lamped at me again and laughed
C’mon boy willa chalk it down!
Amn’t I the bulb off the both?
And amn’t I ever –
Up the rebels! –
A proud daughter
Of Cork!”

I am devoted to you
This motivation gives meaning to my life
It has illumined everything I do
So thank you for choosing me
To love
To be intimate with
To carry like a cloak
The reflection of your open soul
Where there is love
Despair does not venture in
Where there is affection
Forgiveness happens unbeknownst
Where there is laughter
We are equal and as one
When I caress your face with my finger
Trace the delicate hairs of your eyelids
Touch your lips with the gentlest kiss
Embrace your strong body
When I hold you to me in my arms
I carry what is most valuable in all the world
Access to your presence
I benefit from that burden
It clears a pathway for me through life’s dangers
To your heart
I shine in the light of your acute mind
I see myself reflected in your gaze
I hear myself at home in your kindly speech
Inspired by those blessings
I can occupy my chosen place
Caring for your well-being
To become a unique individual
Different from you
Connected loosely
Yet solidly belonging
The two of us transfigured
By the deepening of intimacy
And the abundant flowering of our love