Thursday, March 17, 2016

Something Irish This Way Comes

Here is a little St Patrick's Day poetry from Woodland Valley poet Mike O'Neil aka Boreegard.

Blarney and more Blarney

High up in the Blarney clan’s castle,
Is a stone that when kissed make’s you facile,
Words will roll off your tongue,
All polished and young,
To shield against life’s strain and hassle. 


In an isolated niche of San Antonio’s Museum of Art,
Is a glass-encased objet de’art.  It is described thus:
      Swaggerstick/wood/silvertop and mounts/
       A. Keene/ Dublin/1780
The docent, Norma Gomez Perez, relates a
Brief history of such devices.

“The shorter type, in Roman times, was carried
By Centurions as a badge of rank.
It was used to direct drills and, on occasion,
To administer punishment.”
But sweet Mother Machree, there’s nothing short
About this imposing thing.

It stands fifty inches high.  It was likely fashioned for
An Irish regiment of the British Army,
Way back in the day.  And while I imagine
Its heavy silver knob was seldom used as a cudgel,
—being a thing of beauty in itself—the intent
Behind this imperial staff is plain enough for the Irish me to see.

Back when Paddy was proscribed by English law,
From defending himself with anything more imposing
Than a blackthorn walking stick,
Physical symbols such as this commanded respect,
(Or a keen hatred, my love), If you were of the
Hoi polloi over whom it was brandished.

Even as I recollect Margaret Lenane’s cautionary exclamation,
She shared with me years ago,
“Oh the English, and the terrible things they
Did to us!”
I cannot tear my eyes away from it.