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A Gift from David Hammond

David Hammond gave me this one day: the night before,
he’d attended a wake. It was all carried on
as tradition required: the open coffin, the handshakes,
the quiet sad words, tea and whiskey and bread and butter.
Except that, as the centre of attention,
the deceased had competitors: two bonny baby boys, twins,
in a double pram, their shy proud parents standing either side.
An excess of cooing and clucking, admiration,
approval of the given names, until an old farmer,
who had managed cattle all his life, approached.
‘Boys, are they?’ he asked the father, who smiled and nodded.
And the old man followed up with, ‘D’you plan on keeping both of them?’

Audio file

Listen to this poem — read by Joe Mahon