Peggy Megan 1909-1999

I remember the shame when she’d pick spilt coal,
the Labrador that ambushed her down the road,
my stand-in-mother Peggy, here’s what I know.

She’d crumpled money in her purse
with Bulls’-Eye sweets and a bingo pen,
bargain glasses, a silver perm.

She married a bin-man with a whiskey nose,
worth more dead than when he lived,
left all his debts and seven kids.

“If it’s only an egg we can share it.”
she always said,
and when there were crumbs she still kept us fed.

She’d tell your future from the tea-leaves dark mark,
or shuffle out your fortune
with a ragged pack of cards.

Saw no contradiction in the Sunday trek to Mass,
while her young heathens slept,
in a time before our street had cars.

We buried her proud, all the family round,
in the end become a girl again,
left us all big enough to fend for ourselves.

Me, a man yet somehow still,
that orphaned kid that she took in,
raised on crumbs and tenderness.

Terry Maher

If you have any comments on this poem, Terry Maher  would be pleased to hear from you.