Memoir, Dublin, 1963

You often read to me those evenings
After the Irish dark closed down the streets
Of afternoon—sometimes a novel’s fragment
But mostly poems.

Then you would have a drink and sit and wait To hear the
click of your world settling down Into place. We both cared
For words and Yeats.

The time for parting came and you, seen since
But once, are now a remembered romantic notion-Something
like Celtic Twilight and the scent
Of turf fires.

But having once felt the ache of you I watched Sidelong,
awaiting a published first slim volumn. Knowing your
dedication, I wondered for word
Of prizes, reviews.

At last I learned that you for all these years
Taught English. Did you read your soul out loud
to college students, then sit, drinking,
Waiting for the click?


Helen Sewall Johnson – a graduate of Agnes Scott College, Indiana University, The University of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts – has worked in both the visual and verbal arts. As a teacher, daughter, mother of three grown sons, and aficionado of poodles, she has also specialized in the intuitive art of caretaking. Originally of Georgia, she was a perpetual traveler until finding the Philadelphia area in 1964 and settling down for good.