The Cat’s Ramble to the Slack


It’s that Birdy O’Brien wan

Her an’ her cats an’ they wanderin’

everywhere on their rambles

An’ leavin’ their doin’s for others to deal with

I’ll run them. I’ll give them slack an’ I can tell yeh.


That we should now remember.

Mae, least educated, least likely to say anything worth remembering.

Pride was it, thinking we had all the words, all the wise sayings.

It took us a lifetime of learning to know that everyone

has something worth saying, worth hearing, worth remembering.

Now, what did you say?



Martin Swords

August 2016



Remembering Mae Swords giving out yards about Birdy O’Brien,

a next door neighbour, and her cats rambles to the slack, Mae’s slack,

which Mae had to clean up before using the slack on the fire, still grumbling.  




The Cat’s Ramble to the Slack          *Number 2

For Mary (Mae) Swords

It’s an Echo

of a different voice, of other words coming back

Something that was said once, then often


It’s a Wave

Fetching over space and time

To crash, gently, littoraly, as on a beach


It’s a Ripple

In the energy of life, a blip that bleeps

Down the years, repeating, repeating


It’s a Memory

In the lore of family, a legendary phrase,

Said unwittingly, unintentionally, by a kind unlettered lady

A throwaway remark, thrown away.

A phrase, travelling through time

Crashing on this shore, falling on this page, living again

As if from her lips, hearing her voice again.


A Memory, a Thought, an Echo

A life remembered in an unexpected way.

A cat taking a shit in a coal bunker?


Martin Swords

Sept 2016