She was a bag lady lonely and sad
Who wandered the roads of Galway,
Wretched dishevelled and shabbily clad,
Among boreens lanes and byways.
Knowing the houses of welcome
And ones that showed her the door,
For all well knew she was irksome
And yet part of our living folklore.
My memory returns to childhood
Of her that had no kith or kin,
Not yet knowing between good or bad
The sad tale of poor Biddy Flynn.
Her father a man some used to shun,
Well off in his farm and abode,
’Twas said hating her for not being a son,
And drove her to live on the road.
She tramped mostly near to the Clare,
Sometimes given shelter and a bite to eat,
A ghostly figure scruffy and threadbare
Content to sit and warm her feet.
She carried gossip and news of abroad
With snippets interesting to hear,
A warm fire and a meal her reward
From people good and sincere.
Some used to say she was from Loughrea,
Others said somewhere near Slievefin
Her place of birth she never gave way,
For an enigma was old Bridget Flynn.
The contents of her bag was a mystery
For no one ever saw its insides,
Yet others said it included a rosary
And a few framed photos besides.
That winter was the worst in history,
Galway had never seen its’ like before,
The snow covered road was her mortuary;
Our county she’d wander no more.
They interred her in a small graveyard
Below an ice cold watery sun,
The ground solid and frozen rock hard,
Over Bridget who should have been a son.
On her hands that rosary was entwined
With an article photo and frame,
Into the grave her coffin confined
That photo and story telling her shame.
And all who read it at last knew the truth,
Of poor unfortunate Biddy Flynn,
How she was abused in innocent youth—
By her own wicked kith and kin.
by Edward Coppinger. For more of Edward’s poetry, click here.