Gunpowder By Bernard O’ Donoghue

In the weeks afterwards, his jacket hung
Behind the door in the room we called
His study, where the bikes and wellingtons
Were kept. No-one went near it, until
Late one evening I thought I’d throw it out.
The sleeves smelled of gunpowder, evoking…
Celebration – excitement – things like that,
Not destruction. What was it he shot at
And missed that time? A cock pheasant
That he hesitated too long over
In case it was a hen? The rat behind
The piggery that, startled by the bang,
Turned round to look before going home to its hole?

Once a neighbour who had winged a crow
Tied it to a pike thrust in the ground
To keep the others off the corn. It worked well,
Flapping and cawing, till my father
Cut it loose. Even more puzzlingly,
He once took a wounded rabbit off the dog
And pushed it back into the warren
Which undermined the wall. As for
Used cartridges, they stood well on desks,
Upright on their graven golden ends,
Supporting his fountain-pen so that
The ink wouldn’t seep into his pocket.

About Author Annette J Dunlea Irish Writer

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