We were as carefree as skylarks . . .
– Timothy Knatchbull, From a Clear Blue Sky (2009)

Only skylarks watched down when we came to picnic
among the marram dunes on a summer’s day,
out from Sligo town in the Ford Prefect –
my father, mother, grandmother, sisters and I.

Not so when, years later, a tall, elderly man
paddled the low tide pools with his bucket and net,
and on his way back from the harbour to Classiebawn,
stopped to talk to the boy who looked after his boat;

nor when, the next day – with his twin grandsons, their parents
and grandmother, who just as he did, needed help
going down the ladder and across a boat – they boarded
taking with them the dachshund and a picnic for the trip.

Not so when, with everyone settled on Shadow V,
he took the helm and opened the throttle wide.

– first published in Poetry Ireland Review, Issue 108, 2012.