Do you remember the time
they changed Births, Deaths and Marriages
from the outside to the inside
of the back page of the ‘Irish Times?’
There were ructions.

Since there are people these days
being born and dying,
that were never born or died before,
we all still consult the announcements
without a thought.

Things have changed, however,
time was when birth notices
thanked God for safe arrival.
Nowadays few make mention of God,
in English, Latin or even the First Official Language.

They thank doctors, nurses and midwives.
Can you imagine?
The odd one tags God on at the end.
I haven’t seen mention of the hall porter yet,
but no doubt it’ll come.

And they’re using the mother’s surname.
Good Lord what’s that to do
with the birth of a child?
Not only do parents and siblings welcome Conor and Kate,
but grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts.

Once you could tell
an R.C. death notice from a Protestant one
by ‘Rest In Peace’ or a quotation from scripture.
Now all and sundry use quotes from God knows where
and even humurous quips.

Holy deadlock these days is another matter altogether.
It’s like diphtheria  – there’s less of it.

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