Irish-American poet William Brendan McPhillips was born in the Bronx on April 4th, 1937. His poetry anthology "The Place" contains over one hundred poems, a significant portion of which deal with discovering his ancestry in Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon in the west of Ireland. One of these poems surrounds his memories of Sharkey Funeral Directors, captured in his poem "In Sharkey's Yard".


In Sharkey’s Yard

In Sharkey's Yard - William Brendan McPhillips

We treated death more kindly then than now,
as if engagement was the only way
to fit it into living and to bow
before it in the meaning of the day.

In Sharkey’s Yard we saw the coffin made,
from planks of trees according to the cost
of timber, just as furniture is laid
to fit a budget, not a value lost.

We knew a coffin had an ancient role
to cradle death and liberate the eye
from seeing life unburdened by the soul
seen all too often only when we die.
but soul is what could take a trunk of tree
in Sharkey’s Yard into eternity.

- William Brendan McPhillips.

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