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The Cottage

Now roofless and melting into the earth,

the smoke stained wall marking the hearth.

The old man sits in his New York apartment

the grey buildings unchanging with the seasons.

Years dimming the memory

He forgets the grinding poverty,

the work weary Mother – too many children

Bare pickings for a couple of cows

among the rocks.

Dis-interested teachers

content with instilling the basic three R’s.

Remembering instead the white washed cottage,

welcoming after the long trek from school.

The warm glow from the turf fire,

cooking smells – Mother’s magic ways

with the most basic ingredients.

Evenings spent crowded around the hearth,

storytelling, card games,

the neighbours always welcome.

Going barefoot in Summer,

sometimes a fishing trip with Father.

In Winter, storms at sea,

the huge breakers sweeping in from the Atlantic,

feeling warm and secure in the snug home.

His children and grandchildren pompous with

their American success. Lawyers, doctors, houses

filled with grandeur Houses but not homes,

somehow the hearth is missing.

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