Black and Tan: Noel King

Black and Tan: Noel King

My grandmother knew the opening scrape

of her front gate was not a friend,

told us she remembered staying perfectly still,

his hard steps crunching through her.

She didn’t remember his face,

how long he stood in her kitchen,

what lies or truths she uttered

while my infant aunt gurgled in her cot.

She did remember his words:

I have a little girl like this at home, myself.

For sixty-three years she stepped over

the spot on her flagged floor

where the Black and Tan had stood.


About the author

Noel King was born and lives in Tralee, Co Kerry. In this his 50th year, he has reached his 1000th publication of a poem, haiku or short story in magazines and journals in thirty-eight countries. His poetry collections are published by Salmon: Prophesying the Past, (2010), The Stern Wave (2013) and Sons (2015). He has edited more than fifty books of work by others (Doghouse Books, 2003 – 2013) and was poetry editor of Revival Literary Journal (Limerick Writers’ Centre) in 2012/13. A short story collection, The Key Signature & Other Stories is published by Liberties Press in 2017.

2 Responses to Black and Tan: Noel King

  • Tan | Sixteen Magazine

    […] Our featured poet this month was Noel King who managed to be one of the few poems not about the tan you get from the sun. His poem was about the Black and Tans and was a haunting piece about his grandmother with a wonderful image at its end. Read it here >> […]

  • Noelle

    My Nan was a proud Republican woman and I think she would have loved this poem.
    It’s so evocative and every word is perfectly placed.

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