The Drowning

'The Drowning' by Richard Sharp

Title: The Drowning; Medium: Oil/gloss; Price: €580.

 The Drowning


Eleven years old they found him,
hand round it like a locket,
showing he held his own life less dear
than the new knife
clasped in his pocket. Some said
the sea was more heartless
than God. It harried the dead. Carried
the lithe bodies of the nine children
seaward on the abating flood.
The people waited, lined up
each daybreak to scan
the rocky strand. Emotions wavered
as each tide turned. Anger
floated uppermost in the end.
Only an arm’s breadth apart
two sisters were thrown in together
on the same spot. Bitter irony that,
young and going from each other
to discover the night of the lover.
Nor that they would not have had
their share but that each one of them,
in due measure, had a right
to live out her sorrow.

They opened a fresh grave
for each body found. The same people
confronted each other across
the same newly-dug mound. A few prayers
were sprinkled on every grave.
A wax wreath was laid.
I have heard stories – we are
a sea people – carried with me
my own memories of lives
snatched between the tides. But not
until that June day, the sea
like a pond, had I heard
a like story, with the bodies
of the nine children drowned
found washed in on Aughinnish.

(c) Brian Mooney



Photo of Richard SharpRichard Sharp was born in 1954 in Belfast. He lives in Quilty and farms in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. His medium is either acrylic or Oil/gloss and all his subject matter is local.


Photo of Brian MooneyBorn in Dublin, Brian Mooney came to live in the Burren in Co. Clare in the 1960s where he was in business until 1995. Poetry was always his first love. He has published three collections of poetry. He currently lives in Kilkee.

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