Jeanna Ní Ríordáin
for Marjorie and Laura Rigby
Yesterday, I heard an interview on the BBC with an English Great-grandmother named Marjorie Rigby, describing how, Each year, when gifted a new diary for Christmas, the first date She enters is 3 September, her stillborn daughter Laura’s birthday Every year for 70-odd years For 76 years, Marjorie never knew what happened to her baby, After the birth, she was taken back to the ward and left, never Knowing what happened next. Finally, thanks to the charity Brief Lives Remembered, she discovered Laura had been buried In her own little coffin in an unmarked plot in Stockport Marjorie described feeling big relief and a sort of peace having Found her daughter’s resting place. On her first visit to the grave, She laid down flowers from her garden, and prayed. Back in 1946, No one visited Marjorie in the hospital to help her with her loss, She was discharged two weeks later, as was standard practice, And was just expected to get on with things and carry on So that’s what she did – she returned home, raised her family, And watched it grow. Filled the pages of her yearly diaries With moments from her day, and plans for the months ahead. All the while, leaving one page entirely blank, save for the Black ink mark of a date on a pristine, white new page Every year for 70-odd years.
Jeanna Ní Ríordáin is a translator from West Cork, Ireland. She has a BA in French and Irish, an MA in French and a PhD in French, all from University College Cork. Her work has previously been featured in Quarryman Literary Journal, Poetry in the Time of Coronavirus: The Anthology, Volume Two, pendemic.ie, Burrow, Lothlorien Poetry Journal and Otherwise Engaged Literature and Arts Journal.