Tim Cunningham outside St. Mary’s Cathedral

The Lepers’ Squint
 
They call it the Lepers’ Squint:
The hole in the cathedral’s north wall,
In the Holy Spirit Chapel
Tucked away left of the organ pipes,
Where mediaeval lepers pressed
To peer in at the service,
Queued for the bread of heaven.
 
They call it the hole in the wall:
The cash dispenser centuries along the street,
Left of the blind musician
Where pigeons peck at crisp bags
Littering the city’s north transept.
We congregate, press pin numbers,
Squinting in the sun.
 
– Tim Cunningham
 
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Tim Cunningham outside No. 2 St. Johns Square

Mrs. Kirby

A protestant lived in our house.

We rented the place downstairs,

She had a room on top.

I knew she was different

 

Because people said she was a protestant

As if she has measles

Or came from the North Pole.

Once when we giggled in church,

 

The woman behind said

That I was as bad as a protestant.

On Christmas day when I was six,

A game of rings

 

And a huge bar of Bournville chocolate-

I remember that because it tasted

Different to a sixpenny Cadbury’s-

Were slipped under the door.

 

My mother said they came for Mrs. Kirby.

At last I knew what a protestant was

Thought I had always thought

That Father Christmas was one of us.

 

– Tim Cunningham

Photographs by Natalie Woociker:

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Tim Cunningham on Mathew Bridge

The Singers and the Dancers

 

(You shall have singing and dancing enough.’ – Sheriff Francis Lloyd, Limerick, 1798)

 

Another summer morning on Mathew Bridge,

Another thrush trilling her repertoire

And the same sun dancing on the Shannon

As it surges towards the sea.

 

A different tune those centuries ago

When singing was the screech of men

Torn by lash, and dancing

Was their dangling from the lantern hoops.

 

Now another evening on Mathew Bridge,

Another sparrow chirping on the telegraph wire

And the same moon dancing on the Shannon

As it surges towards the sea.

 

– Tim Cunningham

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