Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Me

irish me
i need irishing
it's that time of year
but i don't want
leprechauns promising pots of gold
shiny shamrocks
kiss me pins
green beer

in my blood
both ancient and new
the bodhrán beats

tell me about
the Picts, Gaels, and Druids
Bridget, the Book of Kells, and the Tara Brooch
the Viking tyranny fought by Mahon and Brian Boru
and, from the time of the Normans,
tell me about Gaelic Ireland
home of the wild Irish
oh, yes, tell me of them,
defiant, from which I come

tell me about how
the Irish saved civilization
but couldn't save themselves

the bodhrán
in the center of my chest
beats the blood around

and can you explain so I understand:
how did the Great Starvation happen?
didn’t the English have any food to share?
I’ve heard rumors about those English warehouses …
full of food

talk to me of the Black and Tans,
the Ku Klux Klan of Eire
brought into Ireland
by the British government
to make Ireland
a hell

tell me about my grandfather
born in Galway
buried in Mayo
didn't like him much
but eventually I had a tribal respect
he ran the village's
cooperative grocery
living above it with my grandmother

tell the true true story
about how the Black and Tans
held him at gunpoint many times
to steal gasoline, coffee, sugar
then, as they got desperate
from losing
they gasolined and torched his home
my mother, a baby at the time

(c) 2006 k. smokey cormier

bodhrán = ancient Irish drum still used by musicians; pronounced BOW-RAN;

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