Paula Cunningham

Mother’s Pride

Handy with a knife,

his preferred medium

was Mothers Pride plain toast.

This is the way the nuns


eat – soldiers;

this is the Protestant

half.  Here’s Omagh, Belfast,

Enniskillen, Dublin, Donegal


with Errigal hastily moulded

from Clew Bay, a crumb

for an island for every day

of the year, and Cork,


where John Mac lives.

Lough Erne’s two narrow slits;

Lough Neagh a slanty

oblong poked right through.


A final flourish, grinning,

his pièce de resistance

was the border

which my frowning mother


quickly buttered over,

stabbing the bread,

drawing the knife

out clean.



“Mother’s Pride” is from  Heimlich’s Manoeuvre (Smith Doorstop Books, 2013)