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Long Ireland Poems | Long Ireland Poetry

Long Ireland Poems. Below are the most popular long Ireland by PoetrySoup Members. You can search for long Ireland poems by poem length and keyword.

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Long Poems
Long poem by Suzette Richards | Details |

SUMMER, WINTER SOLSTICE - 2010

It was a visit long overdue by most people’s standards. I had last seen my daughter two years prior to that during a whirlwind trip which she and her fiancé had made to Cape Town. I had an unexpected financial windfall and the money was burning a hole in my pocket. On the spur of the moment, I called my daughter and asked her to source accommodation for me in London over the Christmas season. A few days later, she called me back with the news that all the hotels had been booked up, save for the Ritz. I chuckled at the idea of having to spend my entire holiday budget on just one night at the Ritz. Then reason asserted itself and we put our heads together to come up with an alternative solution. I could hear her flatmate in the background, chipping in with her penny’s worth of advice. My daughter hung up and I was feeling down in the mouth about the plans for the trip being derailed in such a fashion. Later that evening, my daughter called back with the offer that if I did not object to sleeping on the settee in the lounge, I would be most welcome to stay with them at their London flat. I gladly accepted. She is a chef at a top restaurant and I was looking forward to gourmet meals prepared by her - including the Christmas turkey.

screeching seagulls dive at sushi scraps on a plate - the urchin watches
The evening of the booked flight to London, arrived. It was an uncomfortable hot day and I showered and dressed with only minutes to spare before my friend took me to the airport to book in the statuary two hours before international flight departures. At the airport everything was in chaos. We were given the unwelcome news that our flight had been cancelled. This was the third direct flight to London which had been cancelled that week due to London experiencing the worst weather and snow since records began in 1890! We were offered alternative flights and had to stand in queues for hours in order to procure a new airline ticket. Some people became very verbose and insisted on being granted passage on other airline carriers (at the cost of our local airline carrier). I do not know whether it was due to the weather or the disappointment I was feeling, but when my turn came at last to book a new flight, I readily agreed to fly on Christmas Eve ( three days hence) to London. If I had been given time to reflect on this date, I would not have accepted it. Arriving in London on Christmas Day would have been disastrous: The tubes and other public transport would have been curtailed on Christmas Day and shops and other amenities would have been closed for the day. This I knew from previous trips to the UK over the festive season. To add insult to injury, taxis would have charged triple for cab fare and no amount of quibbling would have swayed them. I phoned my friend to collect me and when we got home, I poured a large glass of Merlot and retired on the sun lounger in the garden. It was *full moon that evening and it was almost worth missing the trip to witness its beauty. I left my bags in the hallway and retired early – after phoning my daughter and giving her an update on the status quo.
moths dart between moon flowers - lunar eclipse
Six am the following morning, I was woken up by the phone ringing. Sleepily I took the call. It was the airline inquiring whether I could get to the airport by seven am. My friend was dancing up and down in agitation and already had the car out by the time I had brushed my teeth. I offered to pay any speeding fines which she might incur during our mad dash to get to the airport on time. The flight was an additional service which was laid on to get the backlog of passengers to their desired destinations. Heathrow had given our pilots permission to proceed, hence the call to me that morning. We were a total of thirty six passengers on the Boeing 747 – it translated to two passengers per crew member. We were treated to five in flight movies which were current and could eat and drink as much as we wished to. By the time we landed in London at seven pm that evening, there was a festive spirit among us. A radio taxi (which my daughter had organised) was waiting to collect me at Heathrow airport. It was a chilly four degrees Celsius below zero and I was grateful for my leather coat and wool accessories.
steep steps to flat shut out the bitter world - a heart pounds
**************************************************************** *The December 2010 lunar eclipse occurred from 5:27 to 11:06 UTC on December 21, coinciding with the date of the December solstice. It was visible in its entirety as a total lunar eclipse in North and South America, Iceland, Ireland, Britain and northern Scandinavia. "bitter" means piercingly cold..... A term commonly used by Britishers... "flat" means apartment. The Londoners I know, refer to it as just "flat" with no adj or possessive noun or article. Please see the About section for explanations regarding the 1ST AND LAST haiku. Haibun(literally, haikai writings) is a prosi-metric literary form originating in Japan, combining prose and haiku. The range of haibun is broad and includes the autobiography, diary, essay, prose poem, short story and travel journal. ~ Wikipedia


Long poem by Valentine Mbagu | Details |

Nigerian Independence Celebration

As October 1 approaches, HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY……………………
I have enormous tracts of land and vast volumes of water, but cannot feed myself.
So I spend $1 billion to import rice and another $2 billion on milk.
I produce rice, but don’t eat it. I have millions of cows but no milk.
I am 53, please celebrate me.
I drive the best cars in the world but have no roads,
so I crush my best brains in the caverns,
craters and crevasses they crash into daily.
I am in unending mourning, please celebrate me.
My school has no teacher and my classroom has no roof.
I take lectures through windows and live with 15 others in one room.
All my professors have gone abroad, and the rest are awaiting visas.
I am a university graduate, but I am illiterate. I want a future, please celebrate me.
Preventable diseases send me to hospitals without doctors, medicines or power.
All the nurses have gone abroad and the rest are waiting to go also.
I have the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world;
and future generations are dying before me. I am hopeless, hapless and helpless,
please celebrate me.
For democracy’s sake I stood all day on Election Day.
But before I could ink my thumb, results had been broadcast.
When I dared to speak out, silence was enthroned by bullets.
My leaders are my oppressors, and my policemen are my terrors.
I am ruled by men in mufti, but I am not a democracy.
I have no verve, no vote, no voice, please celebrate me.
My youth have no past, present nor future.
So my sons in the North have become street urchins;
and his brothers in the South have become kidnappers.
My nephews die of thirst in the Sahara and his cousins drown in the Mediterranean.
My daughters walk the streets of Lagos , Abuja and Port Harcourt;
while her sisters parade the streets of Rome and Amsterdam .
I am grief-stricken, please celebrate me.
Pen-wielding bandits have raided everything in my vaults.
They walk the land with haughty strides and fly the skies with private planes
They have looted the future of generations unborn;
and have money they cannot spend in several lifetimes,
but their brothers die of starvation. I want a kit of kindness, please celebrate me.
I can produce anything, but import everything.
So my toothpick is made in China; my toothpaste is made in South Africa;
my salt is made in Ghana; my butter is made in Ireland;
my milk is made in Holland; my shoe is made in Italy;
my vegetable oil is made in Malaysia*** my biscuit is made in Indonesia;
my chocolate is made in Turkey and my table water made in France.
My taste is far-flung and foreign, please celebrate me.
My land is dead because all the trees have been cut down;
flooding kills thousands yearly because the drainages are clogged;
my fishes are dead because the oil companies dump waste in my rivers;
my communities are vanishing into the huge yawns of gully erosion, and nothing is being done.
My very existence is uncertain and I am in the deepest depths of despondence, please celebrate me.
I have genuine leather but choose to eat it.
So I spend billions of dollars to import fake leather.
I have four refineries, but prefer to import fuel,
so I waste more billions to import petrol. I have no security in my country,
but send troops to keep peace in another man’s land.
I have hundreds of dams, but no water.
So I drink ‘pure’ water that roils my innards.
I need a vision, please celebrate me.
I have a million candidates craving to enter universities,
but my dungeons can only accommodate a tenth.
I have no power, but choose to flare gas,
so my people have learnt to see in the dark and stare at the glare of Unclad flares.
I am shrouded by darkness, please celebrate me.
For my golden jubilee,
I shall spend 16 billion naira to bash around the bonfires of the banal.
So what if the majority gaze at my possessed, frenzied dance;
drenched in silent tears, as probity is enslaved in democracy’s empty cellars?
I am profligacy personified, please celebrate me.
Why can I not simply reflect and ponder?
Does my complexion cloud the colour of my character?
Does my location limit the lengths my liberty?
Does the spirit of my conviction shackle my soul
Does my mien maim the mine of my mind?
And is failure worth celebrating?
I AM NIGERIAN, PLEASE CELEBRATE ME.


Long poem by PENINNAH NGANGA | Details |

GOODBYE MY LOVE

Dear Erick,
i remember like its yesterday when we first met.
Second Sunday of the cold July
few days to my parents anniversary.
you said,"Hi am Erick and I would love to know you!"
We exchanged numbers
we shared photos of places we been to
day till the wee hours of the morning
we would talk tirelessly.
The world,politics,technology,time,spaces
there is no stone we didn't turn.
We did not always share same view
but always we agreed to disagree.
Haha!
You kept saying, "I have found my match!"
We clicked so well!
The connection was undeniable.

Then that weekend you left for fishing in Ireland
we hardly talked
i was so miserable.
I remember thinking,"am falling in love with this man!"
That Sunday when you got a connection in London
the first words you said when were
"I have a feeling there is a big fight awaiting."
Haha!
Though that was our first fight
it was the day we found our center.

It has been so amazing ever since.

We have had our heavenly moment
Skype can tell you that.
We have had our share of pain too
Whatsapp can testify.
Our major break up on your birthday last year
The down time we both went through
beginning of this year...
But somehow
somehow still
our friendship and our love remains a constant force.

Atleast not until lately when all the crude fighting began.

You say i blame you all the time
that am playing hard ball
trying to push you away
that i do not trust you.

But you been the one changing the game.
I understand your life is speeding up
but you forget the results of that on us.
Beyond chasing contracts and making millions
you forgot there is a bride back home
in need of your quality time.

You said you had thought of it hard enough
and it is better that we break up.
I deserve better you said
we are not happy anymore.

Obviously you have a point.
We are not happy as we need to.
I think i idolize you too much that i forget you human
in need of my affection as much as i need yours.
But you also forgot your duty
to silence my insecurities with reassurance and tenderness
like you used to.

Four days and five nights still i wait
a word
a text
a sign
a clue
that you have not given up on us.
But the silence remains.

En zo mijn lifde  (and so my love
ik hou van je     (i do love you
ik can romans schrijven over ons (i can write novels about us
ik zal waarschijnlijk een Mills&Boon versie van ons schrijven (I will probably write a Mills&Boon version of us
Maar                   (But
als dit is waar onze altijd eindigt (if this is where our forever ends
dan will ik dat je weet    (then i want you to know
HET IS EEN MOOI LEVEN AAN UR ZIJDE GEWEEST.(IT HAS BEEN A BEAUTIFUL LIFETIME BY YOUR SIDE)

However
should you decide to change your mind
you can come back anytime
but like yourself
i too will need a few days to figure out things.
Because
when we vowed for better or worse
you should have known that this is one of such ugly times.
You should have never left.

Goodbye my love.
Or is it?






Long poem by andrew delapruch | Details |

the pipeline

absolutely nothing stops the pipeline.

 

it penetrates all ways of life

all borders, all villages & towns---

the pipeline kills everything in its path if it dare stand in the way

of its progress---

with black gold funneling back to the

land of the free

who eagerly seeks to waste

every last drop that is left on the globe

here,

within the borders of the US &

nowhere else,

the strongest military ever assembled

will stop at nothing to keep that pipeline

burrowing &

burrowing its way through

every possible barricade,

eliminating every question as to why or

for whom it all is to happen---

our way of life here in this

“great democracy,”

is something that you should want &

if you aren’t part of our solution

then you are part of our problem,

and if you don’t give it up to us when we come

steamrolling through your land

with our extended erect penis

 

(ERECTED PENIS: Bluenight Energy Partners, NuStar

Energy, Buckeye Partners, Plains All

American, Holly Energy Partners, Sunoco

Logistics Partners, Magellan Midstream

Partners, Tesoro Logistics)

 

& it’s big throbbing veins

 

(THROBBING VEINS: connecting Algeria, Egypt, Libya,

Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Angola,

Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad, Cameroon, Ghana,

Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa,

Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia,

Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Afghanistan, Bangladesh,

India, Myanmar, Pakistan, China, Japan, South Korea,

Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Iran, Iraq, Israel,

Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab

Emirates, Yemen, Bahrain, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan,

Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine,

Uzbekistan, Albania, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece,

Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, FYR Macedonia,

Turkey, France, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, The Czech

Republic, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Denmark,

Georgia, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom,

Ireland, Gulf of Mexico, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil,

Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Barbados,

Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Venezuela, Trinidad &

Tobago)

 

PLUNGING

THRUSTING

TWISTING

GOUGING

RIPPING

TEARING

DRILLING

we will rape your land &

leave you in our wake---

the pipeline matters

you do not---

go ahead people now,

say it aloud so the

rapists can hear us...

THE PIPELINE IS ALL THAT MATTERS

we do not.


Long poem by Ian Foley | Details |

Are Ya Lishning To Me

-
After two Pints of Guinness an old uncle of mine in the West of Ireland would 
become very cantankerous. When he went into a bar he would smile falsely to 
pretend he was not cantankerous - after the second pint it crept back in.

His name was Pat and he would be around 75 years then. He always wore 
a sleeve-less autumnally coloured horizontally lined jumper and a browny black pin 
striped tag (suit) and peak cap. I know he wore long Johns back then in the 1980s. 
He also had two clear apparent rods to the back of his neck when he strained it! His 
main difficulty in life was that he had no heirs and lamented about this when ever 
there was drink taken. One of his favourite comments for nephews of all families 
when pint two or more were sunk was to say to us:
You can keep coming but you'll get nathing. (We never wanted anything).

His wife Mary had a loud shrill voice and each time she spoke Pat's eyes would 
flicker. He'd turn his head away from this loud noise a hundred times a day. 
I often thought the sound would penetrate his brain and that's what disturbed his 
mind some what.

Pat had drank three pints in a certain bar while seated at he counter on a high stool.
John Francis  came into the bar and sat beside Pat. John was  around 65 years. He 
wore a long creamy coloured rain coat. So coloured from never having been washed. 
It stretched down to the top of his cattleman's wellingtons. John had a perpetual 
white scum in the corners of his mouth. Why I cannot say.

How ya John says Pat. A pint for John. John says:
No I'll get me own - John knowing Pat's character traits only too well. 

Pat went into the details of his cattle trading days as usual and the many fights he 
had at the cattle fairs years ago. But at the end of almost every sentence Pat would 
always say:

"Are ya lishning to me are ya on the point " (lishning-listening)

John would continually reply :
"I'm lishning to ya" repeatedly. 

"Are ya lishing to me are ya one the point" Is said yet again but now he is elbowing 
John as well.

More talk and another: Are ya lishning to me are you on the point (elbow) 

This is said at least 15 times over the hour and John is getting fed red sick of this
constant:  Are you lishning to me etc and the elbowing to the ribs and says to Pat:

Didn't I tell you I was lishning to ya and I'm Sick lishning to ya and while I'm at it 
would ya don't be talking shi_e. 

All the young girls around the bar burst out laughing at this. (True) 




Long poem by theresa stephens | Details |

My life so far:

I met my love one summer's day

Amongst the fields threshing hay

Her bonnet slung about her neck

As homewards afterwards we did trek

Her bonny brown hair

to waist length did fall

A comely wench with wherewithal

She at first was hard to win

But at harvest dance she kicked me on my shin

I winced with pain, I put it on

pretending it hurt more and more anon

It gave me a chance to catch her eye

To make her laugh and made her sigh

Next time we met I knew her worth

Her honest folk were salt of the earth

We courted for three long years

Our yearnings often brought us to tears

We saved as much as we could afford

We wanted to emigrate 'abroad',

America was the place to go

Jobs aplenty and land to grow

and farm upon

And all year round I heard that always

the sun shone

When we had saved up our fare

We booked our passage without a care

But once upon the steamer ship

We were retching and felt homesick

On upper deck we sickly laid

As my wife nursed our three month babe

Eventually we reached New York

Which we couldn't see, as we arrived in the dark

At Ellis Island they checked us three

As nervously I held Thomas on my knee

Inspection over we were led out

So joyous our happiness we wanted to shout

A land of opportunity we believed it all

But had no permanent work until the fall

Our dreams of owning our own farm

Vanished long ago with each early dawn

The children came one after another

Thomas had two sisters, then a brother

Our tenement flat overlooked Central Park

We saw horse drawn carriages and heard morning lark

I worked in a meat factory from dawn to dusk

The only way to get a few dollars to earn a crust

We were best off back in Ireland

Tending sheep for a guinea crown

Good honest labour out in the fresh air

Not working indoors under a gas light flare

My wife and children shall suffer no more

I promised her as I left through the door

I shall get our passage fare home

And down to the bank my feet did roam

To withdraw my savings for that dream farm

It's not worth it if my family came to any harm

Now we are back in old Ireland

And to cattle and pigs I now do tend

I'm renting my old abode

With an acre of land as I did of old

To see the contented smile on my wife's face

I think on it as we say our grace

To give thanks for what we are about to receive

To be back home we are mightily relieved.






Long poem by Bob Quigley | Details |

Requiem

They stand alone in stark contrast to their surroundings.  Derelict, they speak of a time past, when they played a role in, no, were the heart of the community.  Gone is the smoke filled air billowing from the monolithic chimneys, spewing the acrid smell of wood and coal fired burners.  Gone is the cacophonous sound of the belt driven machines, never pausing, providing the textiles, the shoes, and the lumber for a growing nation.  The mill was the town.  The town was the mill.  Men, women, entire families, streamed in from Ireland, Canada, Asia, and Europe, all in hopes of finding work in the mills. .  Rural New England families sent their daughters to fulfill needs, wishes, and dreams,   Looking to find something better then the poverty and pain they left behind.

Cultures clashed and families melded.  Ethnicity's struggled to survive, while slowly being pulled apart.  Towns grew to cities.  Roots were set.  Standards established.  Normality changed virtually overnight.  It was a hard life, but one lived with pride.  Workers labored through twelve and fourteen hour days, six days a week, reserving only Sunday to reflect on how lucky they were and give thanks.

Through a war that consumed a generation, they toiled.  Those that could fight, did.  Those left behind molded the fabric and leather and logs and iron that became the clothes and tents and weapons that supported their effort.

Disease and infirmities squeezed the life from their bodies.  The ravages of the mills took their toll.  Many gave their lives to the mills.  Many others took their place.

From this a nation, grew and prospered on the backs of those that had a dream and chased it.  In the hearts of those that believed that there would be a better tomorrow if only they could get through today.  It became their country and they strove to defend it and nurture it, cost be damned.

I gaze now upon the mill.  Silent, it watches today, remembers yesterday.  A piece of history, long ignored.  I do not see the weathered stone and hollow windows.  I see instead a monument.  It says to me “ I am that from which this city sprung.  I did not abandon you as you did me.  Inside, my heart still beats.  I am the spark that ignited freedoms flame.  I provided the mothers milk of opportunity.  I am your foundation.  In my halls a country was built.  My empty floors now store the memories of a nation”.

They stand alone in stark contrast to their surroundings.  Derelict, they speak of a time past.


Long poem by Jen Franks | Details |

Fertile Crescent, iii

Fertile Crescent
and Vestigial Conscience

The sun overshadowing my morality
my self- righteousness eclipsed

Where early mans' dawn is, 
Our sun over my left *should* threaten to tinge me if
I pontificate platitudes that fail to connect us to
full stomachs for our children, solid comfort during our elders’ aging and respite needs
 
That McChrystal was sacrificed at the altar
the way Abraham (*pause) to show faith
O yea, my ancient ancestors from Ireland
Maybe they had roots in Celtic lore
Heralding Beowulf’s heroics
And maybe they had someone in some way connected to 
 various seafaring warring factions!
 
Tyranny and takeover spark hatred
vitriolic
blinding rage, like
action- oriented swarming killer bees~
Vestigial, then, is it - our
primordial consciousness?

Weeping flows, but flash floods cannot compare, 
and the burn of fury that hot lava
NO! of liquid molten, from the deepest depths of Earth's core - 
even that cannot compare 
to the condemnation
my foe must assume.
 
With this pen I secure my conduit to the divine, 
My unpretentious foothold here from my pedestal, 
denouncing injustice! 
My spears are fueled
 
Fertile Crescent
Ghosts of pharaohs
Branded timeless in stone
Reigning order
Condemning the vilified,
as it is published by
The Royal Geographical Society:
Syria as the Gateway between East and West
Leonard Woolley
The Geographical Journal
Vol. 107, No. 5/6 (May - Jun., 1946), pp. 179-190)
And why shouldn’t this be so?
 
Beowulf, an earliest epic
Of Old English
How proud and agile to be able
To confer your legacy in written format
Onto your generations and incursions ~
 
Daughters of the American Revolution, 
weren't you early colonists settling in Maryland?
Wasn't The Crown's high noon tea wrought with hypocrisy?

I was wrong when I supposed 
McCongress ordered striking the King's son
off the Dollar Menu, To Go, 
when they showed up at the
Drive-Thru window
 
Morocco & France have tensions
today that sprouted around this very topic, you know.
Everyone has to pay attention to who the special children are, 
from the special castes - it is written and taught in
children's international fairytales 
written by nations collectively-
cultures present their insides
in their telling of morals embellished
inside gripping tales
to their children,
use of cultural symbols and
delectable terms,  the signs all 
lead directly to the diaper room. 
But for this poet, it was the Irish potato famine
forbidding entry into libertine culture.


Long poem by deb radke | Details |

Mocking The Raven

When I was young, I would mock the raven,
Never dreaming her harsh call was a cry
Across the water to the castle of her brother
King Bram, the Raven, ruler of the British Isles.
Never did I dream of the destruction 
That would follow this desperate plea
Sent upon the wings of a blackened crow.

When I was young, I thought childhood
Would last forever; secure in my father's care,
Content in the loving arms of my mother,
Never did I dream of the devastating war
That would follow this messenger of our doom
Carried across the seas to inflict upon our land
A war of vengeful purpose and contempt.

When I was young, peace prevailed in our land;
Our King was just and beloved by his people.
Then came a marriage, an alliance between
Ireland and England.  Queen Branwen;
Discontent, lonely, hungry for power,
Hated by her court for the intrigue
And bloody sanctions imposed upon all
Who did not obey her sanctimonious whim;
Queen Branwen, beautiful daughter of England.

When I was young, I stood beneath
The blasted pine, looking up at the black bird
As she screamed out her litany of wrongs,
Watching as she lifted her wings to soar across the water.
My father, general of Ireland, fell upon the shores
Fighting to repel Bran's vengeful warriors;
My mother, condemned by her beauty
Fell among the vanquished women.

When I was young, I did not fear the raven;
Now I live in the court of the Raven King,
He, who conquered my people for naught as his sister
Queen Branwen, the White Raven, took her life
And walks now, shriven and pale, among the graves
Of the fallen warriors; forever singing her lament
Of sorrow and regret; far too late, far too late.

When I was young, I believed in the goodness of men.
Now I am old; my raven hair is streaked with silver.
The voice of Bran echoes through this palace
As he cries out exhortations to his conquering soldiers;
As he cries for peace and fellowship in his land.
When I was young, I would mock the raven;
Now I am old and have harnessed the power
Of the raven's call.  I cry to my people for vengeance;
I wait for their rescue, as I haunt the halls of the Raven King.



[Loosely based on the legend of Bran, the Raven King of England 
and Branwen, his sister, who was married to the king of Ireland.  
It is said that King Bran speaks still in England through the cries of the raven.]


{by Deb Radke -- written for the contest 'Among the Dead'}




Long poem by Edmund Siejka | Details |

The Irishman

                                                                                                                           


This is who I am
My name is Stanislaus J. O’Connor
Born on April 17th in Belfast, Ireland
Youngest of eight children
My father admired the Polish people
The way they fought 
During the last Great War
When the odds were against them
Wanted me to be strong
Like them
So he named me Stanislaus.

I carried that name  
Not without some teasing
Took it in stride
Solidarity came along
Organized by Polish dock workers in the 1980’s
Ended Communist rule
Father remembered stories 
Of 1910
When ten thousand dock workers went on strike 
Closed Belfast down
Taught the Brits a lesson. 

Young, unemployed and drunk 
I saw an artist friend of mine
He worked on me all day
Not stopping except to wipe the drippings on my back
I felt no particular pain
Jut laid there flat on my stomach
Waiting
When it was over 
I had the color and imagery
From the tattoo 
Of a Polish Cross.

Listened to the people
Took to the streets
In the struggle
Against the Brits 

One night 
Strangers jumped out of the shadows
Put flashlights to my eyes
Stood me up  
Led me out
In handcuffs.

At HM Prison Maze I was kept in a small cell
Occasionally let out to walk in the prison yard
One summer afternoon 
I took off my shirt
Paddy asked me what’s that on your back
Polish Cross I said
Murmur of voices
Fellow inmates hesitated
Someone near the wall broke the silence,
“Let him be. God is in every cross.” 

In despair a cell mate said he couldn’t take it anymore
Afraid that he would die in prison
Recalling words
From an old Catholic catechism
I said
“No man can learn what his heart cannot hold“.
I made up the rest
“Tell God what you stand for
He’ll understand
And forgive you.”

Ten years later 
Dragged from my cell
Feet barely touching ground  
I was released on amnesty.

Coming home
Family met me 
Open arms
Some traveled from faraway
Felt good
To touch warm hands

Climbed to the top of Cavehill
Seagulls 
Glide in lazy circles 
Twelve hundred feet above sea level
Overlooking Belfast 
From its heights 
The world can be seen  
Across a wind swept ocean of  dark memories
Of what once was
My youth.







                                                                                                                           


Long Poems