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Maggie's Song

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“May your coffin be made of the finest wood from a one hundred year old tree that I’ll go plant tomorrow.” 1

Those were the last words that my mother sang to me. She was laying on a straw mat in the lean-to which we called home. I was hunched over, her bony fingers were clasped around mine. My cheek rested on hers, our tears mingled, our breaths as one. But soon there was only one breath - mine. I sat there for a few moments, just thinking. Then I pulled my warm hands out of her now cold ones. I covered her with a sheet and went to stand in the doorway, just looking. I said my last goodbyes.

My name is Maggie.

This is my song.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Maggie stood over the stove, meticulously monitoring the progress of the potato stew she was cooking. Mammy diced two more potatoes and threw them into the pot. A delicious aroma wafted through the small mud cabin. Little Annie was outside, running barefoot through the potato beds, waving her arms to scare away crows. Daddy was sowing the potatoes, sweat dripping down his forehead.2 Soon he threw down the seeds and with a look of determination on his face, grabbed a squealing Annie and brought her inside.

The family sat around the ancient, beaten up table and Mammy handed everyone a bowl of stew. They said grace and then dug heartily into their bowls. A long day of work had just passed, and another day lay ahead of them.

The McMallin’s were content with their lot and never desired more then they were able to afford. They were simple farm laborers, members of the lowest rank of Irish society.3 They would rent tiny plots of land from small farmers and would work that land growing mainly potatoes. The rent was paid twice a year on gale-days, just after the first harvest in May, and the last in November. It was a miracle if they managed to pay the rent, and even when they did, their future was not secure, for they could be evicted at any time. Then they would have to move on and look for a new place to work the land.4

“Daddy, so where are we going to go now?” Annie would cry out in her squeaky voice. Daddy would just look at her with a sad smile on his face.

“Who knows, Annie? G-d only knows!”

They’d pack their bags, taking the few possessions that they had. Maggie, being the elder of the two children, would be responsible for making sure that Annie had what she needed.

Yes, life was hard, but it was not joyless. The farm laborers had many reasons to get together and have a good time. Maggie loved attending weddings, fairs, races and hurling matches.5 Their faith kept them going through the good times and the bad.

But Maggie’s favorite time was now after the evening meal, when Daddy would pull out his fiddle and he, Mammy, Annie and Maggie would huddle around the hearth and sing Irish folk songs, some old and some new. Maggie possessed a golden voice. There were times when the whole family would stop singing and just listen to her. The notes would bounce of the walls and fill the room. Mammy would slowly join in, harmonizing and Daddy and Annie would hum along softly.

“Then sing - sing - Music was given,

To brighten the gay, and kindle the loving;

Souls here, like planets in heaven,

By harmony's laws alone are kept moving.”6
The room would be brimming with love. Too soon the spell would break and they’d all head off to bed. These were the memories that Maggie cherished later on.

Life has a way of turning sour, just as it has begun to taste sweet. The McMallins found a long term home. Their landlords were kind and understanding people who had no problem with the rent coming in a few days late. The children attended Hedge Schools. The schoolmaster would teach outside on warm days and on cooler days classes were held in mud cabins.7 Life was good.

And then in 1846 the famine struck.8

It all happened so quickly. One morning, early into the harvest, Daddy went out to reap the potatoes. He yanked a potato out of the earth. It was black and covered in fungus. He pulled out another and another and each one had to be dumped on the ground. They were all inedible. The fungus had even gotten into the soil, causing the tubers to rot.9 Daddy walked into the mud house with a forlorn look on his face. “All the potatoes have rotted.” That was all he had to say for Maggie to know that the family was in a bad way.

Soon summer turned to fall and fall to winter, and still no potatoes. With nothing to sell, the McMallin’s money supply was running low. The little that they did have went toward food, because without potatoes, there was nothing to eat. That winter was especially harsh and there was no money for wood to light a fire, or extra clothes to layer up and keep warm. And if there was no money for all of these essential things, obviously there was no money for the rent.10 (plate 1)

One morning, Maggie was woken early by a knock at the door. She pressed her face against the window. It was daybreak, the sun was just beginning to rise. The earth was covered in a blanket of snow that had a pink touch to it due to the early morning light. As she heard Daddy opening the door she thought, “G-d has created such a perfect world!” But that day marked the start of a new life that was anything but perfect.

“Mr. McMallin, I’m sorry, but with this potato blight, me and Missus O’Reilly are going through tough times too, and we can’t afford to have you living here without paying the rent.” Mr. O’Reilly, the landlord, felt bad for the McMallins, but there was nothing he could do. He had to ask them to leave.

Once again, Maggie and Annie and Mammy and Daddy were forced to pack up their belongings and relocate.

They found a tiny plot of spare land deep in the woods and attempted to build a lean-to there to live in temporarily.11(plate 2) Maggie and Annie collected all the wood that they could find and brought it to Daddy who tried to put the pieces together in some sort of fashion, but the lean-to didn’t provide any warmth. Daddy soon began to cough. It was a loud hacking cough and it pained Maggie to hear it. Then one day he didn’t wake up. Mammy and Maggie dug a hole in the hardened ground to bury his body in. Their tears just froze on their faces. As Mammy lowered Daddy into the ground Maggie lifted her voice and sang,

“Death is a melancholy call,


A certain judgment for us all.


It takes the young as well as the old


And takes them in his arms so cold.


And it's awful, awful, awful.”12

But Daddy’s passing was not death’s last call to the McMallins. The sorrow was too much for Mammy to bear. She too fell ill. She grew frail and weak. The strong mother that the children knew was slowly fading away. Gone was their caretaker, their food finder, their inspiration to get up each morning. One day, when the sun was beginning to shine at last and melt away the snow, Mammy called Maggie to her side.

“Maggie, I think that it is time for me to go join your father in our final resting place. Promise me that you will take care of Annie. If I have your word, I will be able to die in peace, knowing that my baby is being protected by the most competent of caretakers!”

“I promise Mammy!”

That was when Mammy sang her last song.

Then she was truly gone.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



“We may roam through this world, like a child at a feast,

Who but sips of a sweet, and then flies to the rest;

And, when pleasure begins to grow dull in the east,

We may order our wings and be off to the west:

But if hearts that feel, and eyes that smile,

Are the dearest gifts that heaven supplies,

We never need leave our own green isle,

For sensitive hearts, and for sun-bright eyes.

Then, remember, wherever your goblet is crown'd,

Through this world, whether eastward or westward you roam,

When a cup to the smile of dear woman goes round,

Oh! Remember the smile which adorns her at home.”13

As I sang this song to Annie while cradling her in my arms, I thought about its words. How we may roam from place to place, but in the end we always wish to return home. But what if there is no home? What do we yearn for then? I realized then that this song did not necessarily apply to me. It was time for me and Annie to leave the little lean-to in the woods, to leave our parents’ graves, to leave our past. We had to move on. Annie was slowly withering away, and me, I had no idea what I looked like. Annie claimed I was a big sack of bones, existing only on wild berries. Maybe the city was where our good fortune was hiding.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



“Annie wake up, it’s time to go!” Annie rubbed her eyes.

“Maggie, can I sleep...”

“No, Annie, we’re going now, come on.” And so the sisters started their trip out of the woods. The trekked across the forest brush, making their way through the dense trees. The sky above them threatened to begin crying, but decided to be kind and wait until they reached shelter. They soon came across a road. They trudged along for hours, hardly daring to look up when they saw someone coming their way. After inquiring about direction from a few people, they finally arrived at the outskirts of the city.

“Dublin!” Maggie sighed with relief. At long last, their journey was temporarily over! She looked around her. The scene was unlike anything she had ever observed before. She was a country girl, she had never encountered so many people in her life, let alone seen them all at once, on one street. Crowds and crowds of people rushing about with purpose. All the colors seemed like one big blur to her.

That was when Maggie noticed the line. It was long, stretching for what seemed like miles. She wondered what all these people were so eager to get that they would wait on line for hours for it. Then she saw the sign. It had just one word on it, but that one word explained it all.

Food.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


I have always been more of an artistic soul. Math had never really interested me much, but that one geometric line changed my outlook on life forever. Food was never really something that was on the top of my mind. I ate what was put on my plate and that was that. But now food had become a priority for all of three reason. One, I was starving, the empty pit in my stomach was growing larger with each passing day. Two, I saw how others were starving. I wasn’t alone in my misery, all of Ireland’s lower class was starving along with me. Three, I was now responsible for someone other than me. I needed to come up with a plan that would make sure that Annie didn’t starve to death.

I had promised Mammy.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Maggie and Annie found refuge in a shelter in the center of Dublin. It had originally been the mansion of a high class Englishman who fled Ireland after he saw the destruction that was coming upon it.14 Each day more people occupied the spaces of those who did not made it home from a food search.

The situation in the city was growing desperate. People were starving, growing thinner and thinner as time went on. When free food did make its occasional appearance, there would be an intense scramble, and at times people were trampled and killed in the frenzy. There was one way to acquire sustenance. Money.

Maggie needed a way to make some money, and she needed it fast. She had almost no resources available to her, except her voice. She decided that besides for comforting Annie when she missed Mammy and Daddy, her voice now had a second role. It was to become a breadwinner.

The morning after her epiphany, Maggie took Annie through the crowded city streets that now reeked of corpses, until she reached the wealthier part of town. These people’s lives had hardly been affected by the famine. Sure, they no longer had potatoes, but they imported food from other countries and were living in prosperity. They surely would have a few coins to spare in exchange for entertainment. She planted herself on a busy street corner, untied her apron and placed it on the floor in front of her. Then she lifted her voice.

“Then sing - sing - Music was given,

To brighten the gay, and kindle the loving;

Souls here, like planets in heaven,

By harmony's laws alone are kept moving.”

She infused the song with emotion, as she remembered the times of plenty, when the family sat together and sang this song, their favorite song. The passion in her voice caused many heads to turn her way. Slowly coins started falling into her apron. When she felt that she had enough to buy bread for her and Annie to eat that night, she picked up the apron, collected the money and returned to the shelter.

This scenario repeated itself for two weeks. Maggie noticed one elegantly dressed woman who kept on returning to the street corner to hear her sing. One day the woman waited until Maggie finished her song, and instead of proceeding to drop the usual coins into the apron she approached Maggie.

“Hello, what is your name?” She had a strange accent, Maggie couldn’t quite place it. She was dressed in beautiful gown made of silk. The shoulders of her dress were narrow and sloping, the waist was low. The skirt was a beautiful bell shape, puffing out over layers of petticoats.15(plate 4,5)

“My name is Maggie.”

“Maggie, where are your parents?”

“They are dead ma’am, the famine consumed them.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, and that child over there, she is...”

“My sister.”

“Are you in charge of taking care of her?”

“Well, I shall always make sure to give her the first slice of bread.”

“Oh, what a sweet child you are, and you have a splendid voice. I shall be coming back to listen to you again.” And with that she was off.

Every day Mrs. James, as Maggie soon learned she was called, returned to listen to Maggie’s singing. They slowly began to develop a relationship. It pained Mrs. James to see how Maggie had no home to return to after a long day of working her voice. It pained her when she saw Maggie’s gaunt face. She wanted to help Maggie, but she didn’t know how. She decided to bring up the matter with her husband.

“I don’t know what to do, Robert, the child haunts me. I only wish we could take her in, have her live with us. We definitely have enough room. When Maggie stands on the street corners and sings, she is like nothing you have ever seen before. At first glance she does not look so special. She is a short girl and has milky white skin, dotted with freckles. Her hair is a kind of thick auburn bush. Yes, to the casual eye, she is pretty, but when you look a little closer you notice the eyes. They strike you like a flash of lightning! They are big and emerald green and framed by the blackest of lashes. Those eyes, they could elicit anything from anyone. When they filled with tears, I felt mine filling too. But you feel the intensity of her eyes the most when she sings. When she lifts her rich voice, her eyes meet those of her audience. Those eyes, they could see right through you!” Mrs. James stopped to take a breath, and her husband took the pause as a sign to begin speaking.

“Oh, you and your American pity. I see you feel quite passionate about taking the child in, and I guess you can make her your project...”

“Thank you, Robert! I know that you will feel the same way that I do about her after you meet her. She is a real charmer, that girl, but don’t worry, she won’t be making too much noise. She is a quiet child. I don’t think that she will give us any problems. She is so sweet and caring. She is always taking such good care of her sister Annie, giving Annie the last morsel of food...” At this point Mr. James interrupted.

“So you truly think that someone who is so dedicated to her sister will leave her sister behind to starve in this miserable famine and go live a life of nobility? From the way you are making Maggie sound, I don’t think that she’ll be so willing to come live with us, unless she is not as sweet as she appears. And don’t even suggest taking in the second one too...”

When Mrs. James thought about that, she knew it was true.

The next day she went out to hear Maggie sing. But she was not on the corner where she usually stood. Mrs. James rushed about town searching for Maggie. She prayed in her heart that Maggie wasn’t beneath the earth. Finally she found her, wandering through the Dublin streets.

“Maggie, I’ve been searching everywhere for you, where have you been?” Mrs. James had a look of true concern on her face.

“The shelter that we’ve been living in...too many people have died. They packed all the corpses inside and bolted the doors. So now Annie and me, we’re wandering around a bit, trying to find a place to call home.”

“Oh you poor thing!” Mrs. James cleared her throat. “Well, I have a proposition to make with you. My house, it has been feeling kind of empty lately, and I would just love to have someone come and fill that space. Will you come live with me?”

“And Annie too?”

“There are times when we have to save ourselves Maggie, times when we have to let go! Will you let me be your mother?”

“Mammy was my only mother. I am not a child anymore, I don’t need someone to look after me. At this time, I have one role to play in my life, to be Annie’s Mammy. I can’t come with you, I’m sorry.” And her beautiful eyes held back tears.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“ When, around thee dying,

Autumn leaves are lying,

Oh! then remember me.

And, at night, when gazing

On the gay hearth blazing,

Oh! still remember me.

Then should music, stealing

All the soul of feeling,

To thy heart appealing,

Draw one tear from thee;

Then let memory bring thee

Strains I used to sing thee,

Oh! then remember me.”16

This was the song I sang the next time Mrs. James passed me by. She looked at me when she heard the words. She threw me a glimmer of a smile, and a few coins. She looked into my eyes, but instead of holding the gaze she quickly turned away. In the deepest place in my heart, I knew that by staying with Annie, I was doing the right thing. Though our future looked bleak, and I acknowledged the fact that I may never have another opportunity like the one Mrs. James was presenting to me, I knew that there was no way I would leave my sister.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


“Robert, today I passed by Maggie. She was singing a song about not forgetting your friends. Our eyes met for a moment, but I couldn’t bear to look into hers. Somehow, those beautiful eyes, they are losing some of their brilliance and sparkle. They seem to be growing dull, along with her shrinking body. I can’t bear it! I think too much of the girl to just allow her to waste away!”

Mr. James looked at his wife. Her eyes were filled with tears, her words were dripping with emotion. All he did was nod his head. They mutually understood that she won this battle.

Before Maggie and Annie could even understand what was happening to them, they were whisked out of the homeless shelter they were staying in and were on their way to the James’ house. Mrs. James led Maggie down the paved road leading to her home. Maggie had never been in this part of town before. The houses were elaborate, each one with its own particular style and taste. Mrs. James pointed to a coffee-colored mansion built of stone,"this is it, we're home" she said. What Maggie first noticed about the house was its stately appearance. Its white marble pillars seemed to stretch to the sky, its magnificent entranceway looked as though it would swallow her. Mrs. James motioned to the footman who was dressed in an ornate tail coat, knee breeches, stockings and buckled shoes, who with a grand gesture motioned for the threesome to go inside.17

Maggie's jaw dropped open when she saw the interior of the manor. The walls were green and imprinted with a viridescent floral design. The cherry wood ceiling had decorated moldings and hanging from it was an elaborate crystal chandelier. In the center of the room there was a gold mirror over a marble fireplace. 18

Yet through all this extravagance there was one item in the room that Maggie was immediately drawn too. It was a painting. It was an awe-inspiring piece that made Maggie shiver inside. It was bloody and gory, but it was beautiful. In the center of the painting was a bed with a king lying in it, watching as his worldly possession were destroyed. It was painted in rich, warm colors with broad brushstrokes. Mrs. James saw how Maggie was inspecting the painting. "That," she said, "is a painting by Eugene Delacroix. It is called the 'Death of Sardanapalus' and it depicts the death of the Assyrian king by the same name."19 As Maggie gazed at the painting she truly felt as if she was at the scene of the death.

Then Mrs. James led her to the dining area.

“Are you hungry?” Mrs. James asked them. The girls just nodded their heads. The cook handed Maggie a solid square wrapped in plastic.

“This is a chocolate bar.” Mrs. James said. “It just came from my relatives in America. Everyone in America loves to drink hot chocolate, but this is the first time that someone has thought of turning it into a paste and then molding it.”20

Maggie broke the bar in two. She handed half to Annie and took the other half for herself. Biting into the bar was like biting into a slice of heaven. The chocolate melted in her mouth, its sweetness overwhelmed her taste buds.

“You girls must be exhausted! Sally here will lead you to your bed chamber. Get a good night’s sleep, tomorrow is a whole new day!”

The sisters readily agreed to go to bed. Maggie fell asleep in a flash, but was awakened by Annie’s soft whimpering.

“What’s wrong Annie?”

“I miss Mammy and Daddy!” Big droplets were dripping off Annie’s cheeks.

“Don’t cry! They are surely smiling down at you from heaven. I’ll tell you Mammy’s favorite fairy tale to make you feel better. ‘Up the airy mountain, down the rushy glen, we daren't go a-hunting for fear of little men; Wee folk, good folk, trooping all together, green jacket, red cap and white owl's feather! Down along the rocky shore some make their home, they live on crispy pancakes of yellow tide-foam; some in the reeds of the black mountain lake with frogs for their watch-dogs, all night awake. High on the hill-top the old King sits; he is now old and grey he's nigh lost his wits. With a bridge of white mist Columbkill he crosses, On his stately journeys from Slieveleague to Rosses or going up with music on cold starry nights, to sup with the Queen of the gay Northern Lights. They stole little Bridget for seven years long when she came down again her friends were all gone. They took her lightly back, between the night and morrow, they thought that she was fast asleep, but she was dead with sorrow. They have kept her ever since deep within the lake, on a bed of flag-leaves,  watching till she wake. By the craggy hill-side,  through the mosses bare, they have planted thorn-trees for pleasure here and there. Is any man so daring as dig them up in spite, he shall find their sharpest thorns in his bed at night. Up the airy mountain down the rushy glen, we daren't go a-hunting for fear of little men; Wee folk, good folk,  trooping all together; green jacket, red cap, and white owl's feather!’”21

Maggie glanced at Annie and saw that she was asleep. Her heart felt bittersweet. Annie was all that she had left in the world. Annie had been comforted by the tale, but who would comfort her? With that heavy thought on her mind, she soon fell asleep.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Life with the James’ family was pleasant. The sisters received all that they needed. They ate five meals a day, dining on the finest delicacies that Mrs. James’ kin sent from America. A typical meal consisted of an appetizer, usually raw or baked oysters, then soup along with broiled fish, a main course containing roast poultry or beef accompanied by vegetables and pasta, and of course dessert.22

After going to sleep on such a full stomach, Maggie would sometimes dream about Mammy’s emaciated appearance right before her death, or of the sticklike corpses she encountered in the poorhouse, but she appreciated what she had.

The girls acquired a whole new wardrobe, made up of beautiful silk gowns and the finest leather shoes. They were genuinely happy, enjoying their riches. But outside the walls of the beautiful mansion, the country was in ruins. People were dying left and right. The city streets were filled with the stench of dead bodies. Mothers who were starving would eat their own dead children.23 The realization that even the rich in Ireland, not to mention the poor, had a small chance of survival hit everyone hard. Robert James decided that it was time to leave Ireland.




* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


“As slow our ship her foamy track

Against the wind was cleaving,

Her trembling pennant still look'd back

To that dear isle 'twas leaving.

So loath we part from all we love,

From all the links that bind us;

So turn our hearts as on we rove,

To those we've left behind us.”24

I was singing this on a ship, high at sea. We were abandoning our starving countrymen and our parents’ graves. We were leaving our culture, our music, our friends and our land. But somehow I didn’t feel guilty. Ireland had betrayed us. It destroyed all that we held worthy, it killed those whom we loved most. By leaving I felt that I had defeated this monster of a land. I was done with Ireland. America, here we come!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Unlike most of the Irish leaving their homeland and going to America, the James family traveled in style. Others emigrated on coffin ships, overcrowded British sailing ships that were many times unworthy for the sea.25 The conditions on these ships were dreadful. Hundreds of men and women would huddle together in the dark, with no breathing room or sanitation facilities. Many would die on this journey to a new life.26(plate 6)

The James family on the other hand, hoping to avoid these unsanitary conditions, traveled first to Britain, and from there caught a boat to the United States. They were traveling first class on the newly invented ocean liner. The tables were turned when Maggie and Mrs. James both experienced sea sickness and Annie, who felt fine, was forced to care for them. After a few days at sea they both overcame their illness and were back to perfect health.

The ship was an epicure’s delight, serving the finest of foods at all times. The girls enjoyed listening to the beautiful music that was played on the deck. This music was quite different then the music they were used to, this was “rich people’s music.” There was a dance master on board who taught them the latest in ball room dancing and it quickly became their new interest.

The girls were enjoying their journey so much, that before they could blink, it was over. They heard a member of the crew shouting “land ho!” They ran to the deck and there was land. America - the place which held their dreams. The ship docked at Castle Garden, the immigration receiving center.27 Mrs. James, being an American citizen, and Mr. James, being the husband of an American citizen, did not need to go through the immigration process, but Maggie and Annie did.

They stood on line together, waiting for their medical inspection which would say if they were to gain entrance to the country. The doctors glanced at Maggie for a few seconds, and pulled up her eyelids to see if there was any sign of disease. After Annie’s turn, the doctor wrote the letters CT in chalk on the sleeve of her dress.28 Then he pointed a finger at a crowd of people standing in the corner of the room.

“I have to go there myself?” Annie asked, her eyes growing large with wonder.

“Yes, now hurry along!” The doctor answered. Maggie stepped forward.

“My sister isn’t going anywhere by herself! Why does she need to go there anyway?”

“Her inner eyelids are inflamed, that is a sign of Trachoma. I’m sorry, but she has to be sent back to wherever she came from. Now go, I don’t have this time to waste!” Maggie didn’t know what to do. She frantically ran to where Mrs. James was waiting for her.

“Mrs. James, they don’t let Annie come through. They say that she is sick! I don’t know what to do!” Maggie breathlessly exclaimed. Mrs. James went to speak to the doctor.

“That child is with me, and I am an American citizen, you have to let her come in!”

“I’m sorry ma’am, but rules are rules. Trachoma is a highly infectious disease that often leads to blindness. We can’t jeopardize the eyesight of any of our citizens just because she is with you! There is a ship heading for Ireland tomorrow. She will be leaving on that ship.”29 The doctor turned to inspect another immigrant.

“Oh, what will we do? I can’t let them force Annie to go back to Ireland all alone to die of starvation! I promised Mammy I would take care of her, that I would watch her and protect her. Mammy trusted me. She died in peace knowing that her baby was in good hands. If Annie goes, I go with her!”

“Maggie, you aren’t being sensible. If you go back to Ireland with Annie, chances are that both of you will die! I’m sure your Mammy would prefer to have one child live than none!” Mrs. James argued with her.

“You don’t understand. I promised! Promising is a big thing. I have to put her life before mine! I said I would, and I mean what I say!”

“Maggie, that is not true. You need to care for yourself before you care for anyone else!”

“I know. I don’t want to return to that nightmare! I don’t want to die!” Maggie was crying big tears.

“And you don’t have to, my dear. Stay here with me. I will take care of you. Your Mammy and Daddy will take care of Annie from up above.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


“As a beam o'er the face of the waters may glow

While the tide runs in darkness and coldness below,

So the cheek may be tinged with a warm sunny smile,

Though the cold heart to ruin runs darkly the while.

One fatal remembrance, one sorrow that throws

Its bleak shade alike o'er our joys and our woes,

To which life nothing darker or brighter can bring,

For which joy has no balm and affliction no sting --

Oh! this thought in the midst of enjoyment will stay,

Like a dead, leafless branch in the summer's bright ray;

The beams of the warm sun play round it in vain;

It may smile in his light, but it blooms not again.”30

I stand here by the Atlantic ocean, gazing at my reflection in the sea. I think about the past, Mammy’s death, my promise, the trek to Dublin, food, our journey to America. My life has not turned out how I planned it to be. Would I even think two short years ago that any of this would happen to me? Now I am faced with a major decision. For me, it’s either a life of guilt, or death. My mind is muddled, my heart is torn in two. I want to live! I want to stay in America, have opportunities and chances. But I promised Mammy. How can I just go and break that promise? How can I abandon Annie, my flesh and blood? When I do die eventually, how will I be able to face Mammy and Daddy in heaven? The moon is bright tonight, casting a luminous beam on the sea. I hear the waves crashing on the shore. What will I do now? As Daddy used to say, “G-d only knows.”




Join the Discussion


This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

kielymarie said...
Jul. 31, 2010 at 6:35 pm:
This was great! Awesome job :)
 
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Rowan A.This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 10, 2009 at 10:48 pm:
very very good. very well described. loved it! :)
 
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ob said...
Jan. 18, 2009 at 10:28 pm:
you know, death is a very common subject to write about. there are many other subjects to write about.
 
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