In the Garden


In memory of my father

While I was shawling the strawberries
with fine green netting, you told me
about the cow that swam to the island
to stand there mooing until the seals
came in close to add their own belling,
with the seagulls circling above, kao-
kaoing – and after you’d stared enough
you ran to the farmer, who didn’t believe
until he saw for himself, then asked
if you’d row him out there, to ferry
the creature home, and you wouldn’t,
saying it was too heavy, would sink
the boat, or at least would kick out,
sending all three of you overboard –
no, the Narin lifeboat had to be called
to bring the cow back to a cheering crowd.
I stood there visualising the whole film
as you spaded the bright new potatoes.

unpublished poem, © Matthew Sweeney 2010, used by permission of the author

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