08 November 2013

River Lee

When you were young I sang
a silly rhyme to make you smile:
Kelly Marie from the banks of the Lee,
Kelly Marie from the banks of the Lee.

37 years later, here I am in Cork
on the banks of the River Lee
as it flows around a bend, breaks
over rocks in its path and splashes

down a small waterfall at the turn.
The river reminds me of you, shows
your kind of purposeful strength, clips
quick- paced toward its ocean goal.

Like you, it's lovely
in this nature setting next to a park,
where branches overhang it, hear its murmers
before it crashes headlong to the city's edge.

You, too, found your flow, swim
gorges of swift- flowing rivers two continents from here
with your great, great grandmother's river in your DNA,
so sure a course, so far away.

Posted for my daughter, Kelly Marie, and in response to a prompt by Ed Pilolla over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads who gave us a word list on the theme of rivers. I'm currently visiting Cork, Ireland and staying at the River Lee Hotel. Hence the poem. Only a few years ago I learned my great grandmother and grandfather were from Cork. My daughter also did a semester abroad at University College Cork and has a photo of herself beside the River Lee.


  1. I love the imagery, Mary, especially those last two lines. :-)

    1. So many feelings came together for me on this visit, by this river.

  2. This is just so special - a poem so personal, so beautiful in expressing the almost inexpressible love of mother for her daughter.

    1. Thanks, Kerry. I've been wanting to write this for a while and this prompt (which was so perfect) helped it come together. The hotel is the one my husband's client put him up in and I joined him- also perfect, the River Lee Hotel...

  3. smiles...what a lovely tribute...i think the river is a great symbol for someone...a bit bitter sweet when that road leads far from home...

    1. As did her great, great grandmother's road.

  4. What a lovely write about the river ~ How interesting to see your family drawn to the same place & river ~

  5. the great, great grandmother's river in her DNA...so cool that she went there and about that connection... love how you describe her with the river images...

    1. I loed realizing the connection across the generations.


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