im Pat Boyle March 14th 1930 – May 9th 2008
If I had dared to imagine
trading, I might have wished to trade
places with anyone raised on love,
but how would anyone raised on love
bear this death.
In my childhood home there was a room of books left over
from my father’s days in Belfast, they were toys to us.
In hard linen jackets of primary reds and greens, they were building blocks
in the spare room, the one not needed yet for children, its bare shell walls
smelling thrillingly of plaster and of possibility. Not a library but piled
haphazardly on the floor they were a magic mountain in our eyes.
It was my favourite place to play, to go in there at night and ‘write’-
to scribble in their margins. It was if he no longer had need of them.
Those that made it onto shelves in later years were paperbacks and full
of optimism – Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People,
Teach Yourself to Swim, Teach Your Child to Read, How to Lay a Lawn,
and then a big regal- looking book, propped up and hidden in a velvet-lined
box that I was not supposed to find and that would eventually be lost
with all the others, on how make – the perfect Catholic marriage.