The Rev. Dr. Paul McKeown

1 July 2015


The bus was early
or we were late.
Either way, they fled
with fleeting kisses,
schoolbags pummelling skinny legs
all down the driveway –
scared the driver wouldn’t wait.

Smiling, I watched them,
as the coach door
slid home, hissing,
and pigtailed shadows
waved goodbye through tinted glass.
I answered – hand raised
in the primal semaphore

of parting - and held
the stance a while,
pondering waves.
Remembering John,
who’d talk you into stupor
for an afternoon
but farewell’d in the old style -

a courteous sentry
your departure from
his top step vantage.
He’d send a wordless blessing
from an open palm
to dignify your leaving.

Sundays at granny’s -
full of healing
The comforting sprawl
of table, couch and chatter
asked little of us
and always left us feeling

more loved and loving.
The kids required
a herding, car-wards,
by the end. Windows
gaping, they’d holler out their
‘bye’s right down the brae,
waving madly. Happily tired.

And dear old Mildred.
From Pulpit Hill
she'd watch your ferry
churn into the Sound
of Mull, and wave a tea towel
at the specks we were
as if to say, ‘I see you still’.

©Paul McKeown
Image The Caledonian Macbrayne Ferry sailing by Duart Castle, The Isle of Mull, Scotland by Paul McKeown