Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The praties


Listen to the praties


Sitting in his lumpy old chair
In the cave like corner by the warming fire,
Granddad finished chewing the last of his soda bread
And with a slightly shaky hand
He slowly reached over 
And placed his crumb laden plate 
On the corner of the range
Next to his empty, tea stained cup.
He fished out his hair oiled trilby
From the top of the fragrant peat basket
And pushed it down firmly on his head
Moving it back and forth 
Until finally it moulded itself to his contours.
Pressing his mottled hands 
On the shiny knees of his ancient black trousers
He pushed up, leveraging himself to his feet.
"I'll fetch the praties," he announced
To everyone and no one.
Slightly stooped,
He crossed the stone flagged floor to the dresser
Picked up the huge holey white colander
Scratched by use,
And crossed to the door.
As the latch clicked open
His old black dog rose on his arthritic legs and followed
And right behind him, me.
On my best behaviour. 
This solemn trio 
Duck like, walked the garden path
Greasy with rain,
To the leaning shed.
Here Granddad chose
From the aging, rusty tools lying on the donkey cart,
The praty spade.
Still silent, we turned.
Took the three stone steps
Brushing aside the purple/red fuschia droplets
As precious as jewels,
And crossed the  gravel track
To our Eden.
We pushed through the wee wooden gate
And I sat my little city bottom
On St Patrick's summer soil,
Oblivious to the cold
And watched with marvelling eyes,
A personal country miracle.
The digging of the praties.


 A work in progress to share with dverse open link night.
http://dversepoets.com

Praties are potatoes.  Not sure if it is a family word or country Irish.

42 comments:

  1. smiles...i had an uncle that i 'kept' one summer as he was elderly...he had a wood shop...and i would trail around and he would teach and i would make sure he did not hurt himself and make him lunch...it was his last year...and this took me back there...

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    1. I bet you are glad that you spent that precious time with him Brian.
      Glad this connected.
      Ciao
      Pea

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  2. You will be happy you wrote this poem, I think. More and more with the passing of time.

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    1. Thanks Mary

      I am writing a little series for my Mum, it's her dad in this instance and she's older now than he was when he died.

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  3. what a priceless memory, captured in beauty

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    1. Thanks for the very kind comments my dear

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  4. I love the personal narration, the details, the waiting & finally watching the unfolding of the country miracle ~

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    1. Did you find it too much like prose? I'd be interested to know.
      Thanks
      Pea

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  5. You have an excellent eye for detail. Great imagery. Impressed !

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    1. Thanks Cressida

      I appreciate your comments very much.
      Ciao
      Pea

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  6. What a great story about watching grandpa. I found it very touching :-)

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    1. Thanky Linda

      did you find it too like prose and not enough like a verse? I'd love to know.
      Thanks
      Pea

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    2. I see it as a combination of both verse and prose which made it very enjoyable to read. Hope that helps. Have a great day Pea

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    3. Linda, thanks, I am having a crisis about it.

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  7. Having trouble posting for some reason...trying again. I loved your precise and sweet description of Granddad...your picture was so vivid of his determination to keep going and doing...in spite of... I'm going to guess that praties are potatoes...have no idea really...or maybe I do. :)

    Gayle

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    1. Gayle
      After your comment I wrote at the bottom what the praties are, you are absolutely right though.
      Thanks
      Pea

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  8. Beautiful poem. Reminds me of a picture of one of my sons walking behind his great-grandpa when we were being shown around the old homestead.

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    1. Oh well, you have that spot on, I'm the little one trailing after him in absolute adoration in this case.
      Ciao
      Pea

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  9. this is beautiful....and sparked so many memories of my granddad as well... really so sensitively beautifully written

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    1. Claudia

      I hope the memories are happy ones that you treasure.
      Take care
      Pea

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  10. This is a lovely story, but for me it reads more like prose than poetry. I suspect some editing is needed, but as you say it is a work-in-progress, I'm sure that'll come.

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    1. I'm so pleased you were honest with me. I had been reading Seamus Heaney who I find often wrote at that fine line between prose and poetry. So that is where I was pitching it, tone wise. Perhaps I crossed the line, but I don't have the skill yet to cross back. I will make that part of the editing process, you are right in noticing that I don't think it's finished yet. Any more thoughts would be appreciated.
      Ciao
      Pea

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  11. You kept me on the edge here pea.. what a wonderful rendered story.. and the miracle of what the soil can give... wonderful

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    1. Thanks Björn, did you find it too much like prose?
      Ciao
      Pea

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  12. Aw. This is so sentimental and beautiful. Glad you explained what praties are.

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    1. Hi Myrna

      Hope it wasn't too sentimental.

      I always grow praties in my garden, I don't feel like it is home otherwise. The crop I got this yet was quite pathetic though.
      Ciao
      Pea

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  13. Well sure n' ya took me there. I saw it all - felt the freshness of County Kerry in the air and remembered the chill of a late spring day.

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    1. Ah yes, the freshness of the air, coming off the Atlantic, very bracing.
      Glad I took you there.
      Pea

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  14. these kinds of memories are priceless...you are writing the kind of poem that can become a family heirloom...beautifully written.

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    1. Ronald
      I hope one the family will treasure it, maybe even my future grandchildren will write of me! How weird would that be.
      Ciao
      Pea

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  15. Great story, what one can learn from watching

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    1. Actually looking at it from that perspective this is one of the recurring themes in my life, listen to the old folks before it's too late!
      Have a good day
      Pea

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  16. Beautiful memories there, perfectly written.

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    1. Thanks Anthony, very kind of you to say so.
      Ciao
      Pea

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  17. What a wonderful snippet of a few, precious moments. Seemingly so mundane, and yet deeply personal and special. Thank you for sharing these moments.

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    1. Ah Freya
      I still have an annual digging of the praties with my son.
      Old habits die hard.
      Ciao
      Pea

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  18. Pea, I love this. "Greasy as rain" - damn, that is a great line. ~

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    1. When you spend your summer holidays on an Irish mountain, you learn lots of ways to talk about rain!
      Pea

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  19. There is such a special connection between grandparents and grandchildren. The "watching" aspect of the relationship is perfect in this. This made me miss my own grandparents!

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