12682024 - view of westport house seen from the lake, county mayo, ireland.
Dear Guest of Westport House & Gardens
by Roberta Beary

House tours are canceled and the cafe closed
Pandemics wax and tourists wane
Times change

Once Lords and Ladies ruled these walks supreme
They traced their blood to Grace
The Pirate Queen

A hotel dynasty now holds the deed
Times change
Pandemics wax and tourists wane

Mind where barbed wire meets old chapel ground
Sheep graze near graves of nobles
Titled Browne

Times change
Pandemics wax and tourists wane
Please take your litter with you when you leave

PHOTO: Westport House, County Mayo, Ireland, by Gabriela Insuratelu, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Westport House, a stately home in County Mayo, Ireland, was built by the Browne family, Irish peerage and descendants of Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen who ruled the west of Ireland in the 16th century. During the Covid-19 lockdown, when car travel was restricted, the owners of Westport House kindly opened its grounds to locals. This poem grew out of my walks among its lovely gardens.

PHOTO: The author during a visit to Westport House grounds and gardens (2020). Photo by Frank Stella. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roberta Beary’s second collection of short poems, Carousel, is co-winner of the Snapshot Press 2019 book award contest. Her first short-form collection, The Unworn Necklace, received a finalist book award from the Poetry Society of America. Her collection of prose poetry, Deflection, was named a National Poetry Month Best Pick by Washington Independent Review of Books. A long-term editor at Modern Haiku, she lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, Frank Stella, and tweets her photoku and micro-poetry on Twitter @shortpoemz. Read more at her website or on Facebook.

Author portrait by Henry Denander