• africmcglinchey

Mother and son

Updated: May 24


What the Man-Moth fears most he must do.

–Elizabeth Bishop

Today my son is going,

with a sword in his hand,

to slay the spiny monster.

How did we get

from a boy in a check dressing-gown

and a sword…to here?

So much safer

to be a broke pianist or read a LOT

of political theory.. Marx, and Hobbes…

than to qualify in 2020 as a medical doctor.

Today is his first in a hospital.

He’s happy,

& mixed feelings are streaming.

My job completed, my smile


this first day in his working life.

He is nervous, excited,

and play along I must,

standing in the kitchen, telling him,

'this is your achievement, your degree.

You deserve to be proud, Timmy.'

Wish I could cast a swathe in front of him,

wield a sword left and right,

add check dressing gown and warrior feet,

slay every monster in sight.

That little boy who needed only

Jaffa Cakes & me for his power,

could have been a saxophonist, a cricketer,

an artist, or actor or chef,

But he’s a doctor. A doctor, just like his dad.

My son is a man, and a doctor today.

That’s what makes it

a morning I’ll never forget.

The morning he first embarks

on slaying a real monster,

sword in his hand.


I am indebted to the Arts Council for funding a project to write poems during, but not necessarily about, the lockdown. I am writing these narratives in response to stories given. Thanks to my cousin Lisa for this one.

Photos courtesy of Lisa Cronin-Cusack.



 If you have a question, project or inquiry you would like to talk to me about, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

+353 (0)86 3633567

Castlefreke, Clonakilty, Co. Cork

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