(15/07/56 / Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare, Eire.)

Be The Hokey!

Under his hat
my uncle's smile

permanently hung
like a weathered sign

creaking in the wind
singing in the rain

as present as
sunrise and sunset.

a smile always
bursting into laughter

like flames catching
the kindling

becoming a roaring
fire.

His hat and him
the one thing

only taken off
every now and then.

Pushed back on his head
in an amazed gesture

to what a little boy had
said: 'Well...be the hokey! '

Or' Be the Holy Dublin! '


The same words spoken
in a thousand different ways

set alight
with his smile's delight.

Now he has walked off
without his hat

Death told him
he had no need of it

I wait like a child
for him to come back

hoist me with a hand
upon his back

place his hat
upon my head

laugh like mad
at anything I said

as I inhabit his hat

crawl like a hermit crab
inside his smile

mimic him
as if I were h

'Be the Holy Dublin! '
'Be the Hokey! '

by Dónall Dempsey

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