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Candle of Life

One Saturday some years ago, at a market in Rokeby,
a voice was calling from behind and then caught up with me.
It was Shaun O’Malley at the rear that stopped me for a chat,
dressed in a pair of dungaree’s and probably Irish hat.

“How are you Shaun?” I said to him and in his Dublin tongue,
Shaun answered with “Good to be sure”, as if his words were sung.
And we chatted on the state of cows, for we’re both farmers see,
then Father Carey ambling by walked up to Shaun and me.

“You’re Shaun O’Malley!” Father grinned, and questioned furthermore.
“Did I not marry you two years ago, to the pretty Mary Dore?”
“That’s right Father” Shaun replied. “You did, it’s a day I shan’t forget”.
Then Father asked “Well Shaun O’Malley. Are there any wee ones yet?”

Shaun shook his head and gave a smile. “No Father, there is none at all,
and the Father gave him reassurance that he will answer to their call
“I’m to the Vatican come mid July, and while time off from the Pope,
I will light a candle for you both to help your fertilising hope”.

Shaun bowed and thanked the Father whose eyes went on a search, 
and then he smiled and questioned me “Do you ever go to Church?” 
My words they bumbled in a jumble that tried to show discretion,
but in the end my soul is saved … he gave to me confession.

So Shaun and I continued on with Father Carey now departed.
Conversations based upon the farms, and pleased to be restarted.
We talked about our Friesian calves; our heifers and our steers,
then said goodbye and left for home - and that was that for years.

It was at the Darnum market and with seven years between,
that Shaun and I met up again where there was a different scene.
He had kids behind him; kids in front; kids riding in a pram.
I said, “Shaun, are these all yours?” - And he replied, “They surely am”. 

“Struth!” I said while thinking back. “You’ve been a busy lad,
in seven years you’ve bred this tribe from the none you had”.
“Ah yes,” said Shaun, “To be sure, we’ve got two sets of twins,
three single births and making twelve, are our lovely quins”.

And just by chance while I’m in shock and needing something strong,
I hear that voice from seven years when Father Carey strolled along,
ignoring all the kids around he says to Shaun soon as they met
“Have you and the lovely Mary Dore produced good Catholics yet?”

I gave a laugh and jumped right in “Crikey! Look around you Father Carey!”
And when he did he proudly grinned “I’m really proud of you and Mary,
But Shaun, my son, where is your Mary?” And Shaun replied, “She’s not about.
Father, I’ve sent her to the Vatican, to blow your bleedin’ candle out!”

Copyright © Lindsay Laurie

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