The Secret of Fatima
Wildflowers bloom out of the gable walls
in the now derelict Fatima Mansions.
Laburnum plays havoc
with the crumbling masonry.
Tuffs of dandelions sprout out
from rust shuttered doors.
Some class of an ivy creeper
gawks out of the smashed windows.
Remember all them lovely people
who partied here. Partied hard.
Remember how some fell here, fell
hard on these eleven acres by the canal.
We can only hope their souls
find a greener place in this renewed soil –
freshly turned and now cleared
of all that builders’ rubble.
The new flats offer a sanctuary.
Lads call for the ball and play
kick-about on the tarmac.
Rope swings still whirl around
the washing line poles and kids laugh.
Neighbours chat across balconies
and bear in mind the secret of Fatima:
life goes on and wildflowers bloom.
Rachael Hegarty is a Dubliner. She was educated by the Holy Faithers in Finglas, the U. Mass Bostonians, the Trinity M.Phillers in Dublin and the Ph.D. Magicians at Queens University, Belfast. Her debut collection, Flight Paths Over Finglas won the 2018 Shine Strong Award.
A child survivor of the Talbot Street bomb, her collection May Day 1974 (Salmon, 2019) has received critical acclaim for the 33 docu-sonnets and 33 ballads for the people who died on the single worst day The Troubles. Rachael has also edited a book of poems by community groups from hometown in Making Sense of Finglas (2019). Her third collection, Dancing with Memory (Salmon, 2021) is a dance hall of memory for her mother who lives with Alzheimer’s.
She teaches at the Trinity Access Programme because she wants more working-class students causing some havoc in academia. Rachael’s kids say she uses the 3 F-words too much: Finglas, feminism and feckin’ poetry. www.salmonpoetry.com
The next location for Festival in a Van is in Dublin 15 via its partner Draíocht, Blanchardstown. It will visit Mulhuddart Community Centre, Coolmine Therapeutic Community and Huntstown Community Centre on Saturday July 24 where invited community groups will come and join Maria Kelly and Beau Williams.