This is a poem written by my grandmother, Brigid Valerie Rever (nee Hanley) – or just plain, Val. She was from Ireland and met my grandfather, an American, during WWII when she was a nurse in England. She moved to America after she had my father (born in England).

I never really knew my paternal grandmother. I certainly didn’t know she wrote poetry (I wonder if she wrote fiction). I have three poems from her that her husband had printed for her funeral – I yearn for more – to know more of who she was and what she thought. She seemed to have a lot of wanderlust in her soul but she’s back in Ireland now. She died weeks after I moved to England in 1989. Everyone says I look like her and I wonder if I am more like her than I’ll ever know.

Heritage by Val Rever

Now some love the bright sun –
Good luck to their choicing.
But should you be asking
What I love, machree,
Sure my lips would repeat
What my heart is e’er voicing,
Grey skies and soft rain
Blowing in from the sea.

They are part of my soul
As are wings of a linnet
From forebears long gone
Who bequeath them to me.
For the blood of the Celt
Has a spray o’tears in it
Which makes him close kin
To the rain and the sea.

As I’ve loved them in life,
I shall pray, for my going,
A bit of soft rain,
And a sea wind blowing.


9 thoughts on “Heritage”

  1. Wow, what a lovely poem. I especially like the line about the blood of the Celt, being a Celt myself.

    It’s lovely to discover a connection like that (writing) with a family member who you didn’t know.

    1. Lol, really. I think you can only wax lyrical about the Irish or British weather once you are out of it! Although a New England winter is nothing to shrug at. I remind myself every winter I could be suffering sub-zero temps and feet of snow instead of wind and rain. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

  2. A very evocative poem, Liz. I think the Irish are particularly poetic, the whole language has a very lilting feeling to it. It’s funny how likenesses come through the generations. I am not like my grandmother but my daughter is very like her. I never knew her either as she died young at age 44. If you were brought up in the States, do you miss it at all or do you feel you belong this side of the Atlantic?

    1. I’ve been over here for so long that the only thing I really miss about the US is my family. When I’m over there I do enjoy the ruralness of Vermont – although it’s easy to enjoy it when you know you don’t have to live there year round – 6 months of snow? Forget it.

      I also feel a big culture shock in both places – over here I’m still regarded as very much American – I haven’t lost my accent – and I feel American but in the US people (not family) hear an accent (!) and as the years have moved on I’ve lost many cultural cues from over there (although maybe that’s just an age thing!)

  3. really wonderful! sometimes all you need in life are just those simple familiar things… really nice share…

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