Kathleen Kenny



The old rite denounced, though not passed away,

here tonight it is cast in the form of a rosary.

The women of the parish keen the newly dead.


With chants they lift Nellie from the coffin-bed,

dance her overhead on an air of blue incense,

in a gold jig of candle-flame, on moaning tongues.


Here tonight at the Receiving In,

they are making  rhythm, a cradling-frame.

They are humming her life, saying her.



*Keening: a chant for the dead, denounced by the Roman Catholic Church.


Kathleen Kenny is a writer of Irish parentage who lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. She earns her living as a part-time creative writing tutor at the Centre for Lifelong Learning. Her latest collection of poems, Firesprung, was recently published by Red Squirrel Press.