( / Monaghan, Ireland)

The Family Room. For Mary.

You put up with it because
as tiresome as it is, and as they can sometimes be,
somewhere there, there's always love.

He may take interest
in something to be repaired
that's mechanical; and
there's cars to wash and clean,
hobby things to sort and tidy.

Some kids are good or disciplined;
but there's never quite the time
in their expanding world
for doing just what you do
for the house..

But in the human heart
there's this locked, dusty room - you haven't dared
to look inside for years - or indeed
since childhood, for some people -
full of junk, of cobwebs,
broken windows, their sashes jammed,
cupboards that won't open, drawers
whose contents stop them opening; even
the birds have stopped their nesting there;
a room of memories that whisper when it's dark

It's the room that's family.
And surprise - the light still works..
A family can sort and dust and wash and clean and tidy it
in less time than they take
to slam the door
yet only you know that it's done, and how it's done.
And you say nothing.

Somewhere, two strangers
smile at one another

by Michael Shepherd

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