Cake Before Dying. A poem by Therese Kieran

Bradford Royal Infirmary, CoVid ward,
they told her he had hours.
Was there anything they’d like
to have said or done?

Marriage, they said,
fifteen years and we just never
got round to it, never enough time,
never enough money.

Money didn’t matter now
so the Chaplain suggested,
The Ceremony of Commitment
with songs and words
they’d like to hear and sing.

He twisted foil to make the rings
and in a side room, the groom wore a mask,
the bride wore PPE over white:
apron, mask, visor, gloves
and struggled to say the words.
The staff turned out as witness,
congregation, family and friend,
her daughter watched on screen,
everybody cried and after
they had cake, took photographs;
hours later, he died.


Therese Kieran lives in Belfast. Her work has been widely anthologised online and in print, and mostly recently on Poetry Jukebox’s Climate change curation in Paris and Belfast. She’s delighted to have ACNI support to write a debut poetry pamphlet about Belgian refugees based in Monaghan during WW1.

1 Comment

  1. A whole story of sadness, love and tenacity, poetically expressed as it should be, with brevity.
    Once read who shall ever forget the rings of foil?
    Those short hours of marriage will outlive in memory the Ruby’s, the Silver’s and Gold’s; why?
    The closing, haunting two words …


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