Flying Kites on Dalkey Hill, 1979

by t t

(for Helen)

They were flying kites that September morning
high in the sky at Killiney. Not yet two years old,
you gazed astonished at these fluttering aliens,
not quite believing what you were seeing.

That same day, two clerics were flying kites, too,
seizing their moment during Pope John Paul’s visit
to remind us from a Galway stage just how much
we loved their media-friendly ways, even though

on TV chat shows they were always harping on
about purity and chastity. In later years we learned
more about them, none of it good, and later again
we learned a lot more than we wished to know

of what their pious colleagues, priests and nuns,
had done to our children in the name of God.
This was our nation when you were a child, too:
long gone, of course, though never long enough.

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