Tom Mcenroe's Last Sabbath

The Sabbath had its special place in his Irish heart
A man of very few words & an early riser…
Never late for church, always dressed his best, really, smart.
…A whiff of pipe tobacco to this eulogizer—

Fine, but to a criticiser a pungent crime:
He died of shingles—grandfather—it's many years since
In his early 90s, but I still remember—wintertime!
His braving, snow & ice, tying-boots curtailing winces.

He was fearful of cold weather and fearful for his health
But he had faith a widower he'd his convictions
Promises to keep, heart & spirit in moral wealth
His Lord would see to that whatever his afflictions.

Under his flat cap, he kept a hearty smile a grin
Like a quarter slice of an apple, rosy pink cheeks
Hair white and yellow like the rind of a lemon skin
He was chesty when he chuckled in those little squeaks.

As a young boy, I never asked, but would wonder why—
His wife, my mother, her sister wasn't by his side
Didn't they care about his beliefs & what could belie
Their dereliction of duty three times amplified.

The Sabbath had its special place in his Irish heart
One time I went to church, my role as support—
Worker—with a client whom I did dress very sharp
Later, at home, I inhaled pipe tobacco, a whiff, a snort.

I believe he visited my sleep, proud that I'd been?
Leaving me again the smells of the resin—woodbine.
I woke to remember that evening of the Sabbath
Incense burning, at home & the sound of hosannas.

by Mark Heathcote

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