When Suits Were ‘For Best’

By Bernie Bell

A comment to this….. https://theorkneynews.scot/2022/02/10/old-rendall-parish-church-6th-february-2022/ reminded me of a poem by Seamus Heaney which delves deep. 

My family are Irish.   Seamus Heaney is Irish, and many of the images he uses and ways of life he describes, are familiar to me.

I think that  “A paperiness not known again” refers to cigarette papers, but also, for me, it was my Dad’s skin, as he died of lung cancer from smoking Woodbines from the age of 11, and his skin went to white paper, towards the end. 

It’s an odd thing – that smell of sweat and cigarette smoke, is ‘Dad’, to me – years later, decades later, I knew someone who smelt just the same – and it threw me – it was hard to deal with.

I’d end this with “Rest in Peace, Dad”, but he always reckoned he’d rather go to Hell than Heaven, as that’s where all the lively folk go!  I don’t agree with him – it’s just an example of how he was.  Another thing he said was that we can’t go up to Heaven any longer, as there’s too much space hardware in the way.  An irreverent, and very funny man. He still helps me with my gardening. 

Photographed in the Musée Somme 1916 of Albert (Somme), France. Image credit: Alf van Beem via Wikimedia Commons

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