Today, I don’t have to make the long walk to the farmer’s field,
For today we are here with what is left of our family.
My mother is busy in the kitchen readying the ingredients for the spice cake.
The hallmark of Christmas in rural Ireland. 1943.
I turned 14 yesterday; soon my part time activities will turnover in a few days from now.
Gone will be forever the school days of Carricarrig,
No longer a need to fill the lock with stones,
Or other pranks to avoid learning.
Mother’s soft voice comes from the kitchen,
“Fetch some turf Michael” and I know I will be venturing out again,
In the dank cold, to sneak across fields and take what is not ours to fuel the fire.
Mother would never endorse such theft, but neither does she know the turf is not ours.
After a successful commando raid, the turf is safely home,
Mother kindles the fire in readiness for the baking in the simple oven,
And soon enough, the smell of oriental spices and smoldering sultanas spreads over BallyLoughHane.
A Christmas indeed. No other present save that of Baby Jesus needed.