A new Ireland

Written by: Eiken Laan

It was a wet November day
on the motorway to Cork
waiting at traffic lights
a tiny man shuffled towards me
frail, bald and alone,
his piercing eyes beseeching,
palms outstretched, imploring.
His face ravaged with fear
his shame stirred shame in me
as I turned my face away,
I saw others do the same.

I felt raw discomfort 
it changed rapidly to fear
as the cold face of recession
the demise of my country
the pain of my people
stood before me
in this little man
an ache so immense,
I had covered it deep.

Faced now with utter revulsion,
abject anger towards our government,
our bankers and developers,
those sneaky golden circles,
as my eyes met his,
I saw my own reflection.
The country’s bubble burst a year ago
but he had just burst mine.

For In his tiny frame,
I saw our fragile nation
a country on its knees
begging for a bail out.

In his isolation,
I felt my own vulnerability
huge impending loss
as my children face emigration.

In his baldness, 
I saw the naked masses
new poverty and pain,
still crushing us, the people

This little man
could be me.