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On first reading Dermot Bolger’s “Temptation”

I too know that road, the garage, the sharp bend,

the hump-backed bridge, over and beyond, the sea

at last, journey’s end.

Everything as it always was, as it should be.

But of course it is not,

the imagined woman’s tears of happiness

her fears of never seeing this again unrealised,

her deepest felt relief,

I applaud all of this

but for us it was not to be.

“She had honestly never expected,”

Dermot wrote,

“to see this again except as a woman

riddled with cancer.”

And what can I do

but remember…

August nineteen ninety-eight

the last summer’s day and all are

deserting the beach,

you know the scene –

struggling parents, lethargic children, end-of-season farewells.

She paused and looked back seawards,

“I feel like I’ll never see this again.”

Her simple words concealed a terrible truth.

Rosslare Strand, August 2000