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POEM FOR ST PATRICK'S DAY BY COLIN DARDIS


Eyewear, the blog  is pleased to feature a new poem by Irish poet Colin Dardis, who appears in the Best New British and Irish Poets 2016 anthology. The poem was commissioned for, and broadcast on, Sky One's What's Up TV last month. This is quite the St Patrick's Day today, in terms of its echoes and shadows, as the controiversial (to some) centernary of the Easter Rising approaches.


I Have Looked For Inspiration

I have looked for inspiration
in all these streets:
some now forgotten by man,
only recalled by the dust and the dead;
others set on the possibility

of the here and the now.


I have looked for the unmarked grave
and stood at the memorials,
touched shoulders
with both the grieving and the fallen.
I have observed the minute’s silence
and cried out in celebration
when the guns were laid down.


I have walked the roads of Omagh,
of Kingsmill, Greysteel and Enniskillen,
tramped the dirt down in Belfast,
Derry, Londonderry, Maiden City,
and in everywhere, found a future
that longs to be free of its past.


I have looked to the faces of strangers
claiming one side of the road their own,
then shook hands with those brave enough
to cross over and defy a generation’s fear,
to age together and remove

the mote from each other’s eye,
free to weep and see again

in the new light of forgiveness.


I have seen my people be held back
by the talons of identity,
by labels of name and school and townland
that they could not control,
then be embraced by those

who dared not to care,
who only want to know the person
and not the percentage they fall within.
I have looked over the peace walls
and found the same families
in the same houses,
too busy surviving
to worry about who is on the other side.



I have seen wastelands reclaimed as skate parks,
a sunken ship raised up and made into a conqueror,
the slogans of hate painted over by artists
who only want to tell you how great it is
to be here and alive today.


We have been measured by kerbstone
and telegraph pole for too long now,
pinpoints in our great country of distance,
where a land can be void of landmark,
where there is uncaged air, open billows of peace,

where words may be sifted and stored
and history transformed

in the furnace of tolerance and compassion
to award the outsider

with a tale worth retelling.
 
 
copyright 2016 the author.

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