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Poetry Magnum Opus

Ulaidh (Ulster) 1601


dedalus

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We were called to the gathering

at the hill of Tullahogue, shop-keepers

and middle-aged people of the town, idlers,

old women, children, for all the young men

had gone south with O’Neill.

 

There was to be a great battle.

 

Tullahogue with its ancient stone

is a great green valley in a dip of the woods;

we settled in, murmuring, hushing the children,

among the whispering waving trees,

we, the People of the North.

 

There were three Engish prisoners.

They were brought before us.

A great hush and abaugh arose among us

for we did not like them. But then

the Sherriff of the Town, didn’t he

 

stand up on his legs, waving a cleaver,

and call for the butcher McCaughlan

who came up to the stand, by God,

stripped to the waist and the sweat

rolling off his heaving muscularity

 

and I knew what was going to happen

and I covered the eyes of Síle, my daughter,

and I asked my wife to turn her head away

and she said No. She said no, I want

to see the fuckin bastards killed.

 

The mother of my children, an O’Cahan

whose brother fell in the battles last year

when I was in my dreary little shop

scraping together the pennies to keep us alive.

God, how she despises me!

 

The Englishman is young, he shivers,

but not from the cold, he wants to be brave.

The butcher plays to the crowd, he pretends

to swipe, then strikes, a great gout of blood,

and the young men roar and cheer.

 

Why are they not with O’Neill in the South?

 

I catch a glimpse from my neighbour

and I can see he is thinking the same.

He has his son clasped tightly within his cloak

and as our eyes glance off one another, he sees

my woman forcing my children to watch.

 

Nothing good can come of this.

 

The second and third prisoner are likewise dispatched

but the cheers grow thin. We know. We know

that the English will come and do the same to us,

to my sweet little daughter, to my infant son. My wife

shines with a look of fiery grandeur. She has no idea.

 

http://irishantiquities.bravehost.com/tyro...tullahogue.html

http://dublinerinjapan.blogspot.com/2004/0...en-and-her.html

Edited by dedalus

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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A very powerful account of events taking place during the Nine Years' War, Brendan. As usual, you take a historical event and add a human face to it. And, as usual, you honestly portray the nervous ambivalence of the people:

 

... Why are they not with O’Neill in the South?

 

I catch a glimpse from my neighbour

and I can see he is thinking the same.

He has his son clasped tightly within his cloak

and as our eyes glance off one another, he sees

my woman forcing my children to watch.

 

Nothing good can come of this.

 

The second and third prisoner are likewise dispatched

but the cheers grow thin. We know. We know

that the English will come and do the same to us,

to my sweet little daughter, to my infant son. My wife

shines with a look of fiery grandeur. She has no idea ....

The maturity of the speaker shines through ... as well as the ignorance of his impassioned wife.

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Somebody out there who understands! Thanks, Tony, Antonio, ... or Anto as we'd call you at home.

 

-- Brendan, Breandáin, Breno

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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Breno, don't forget to add Tono :D, as I called him once, and Tony got mad at me :D, but I did it because he was calling me Alexa-which I refuse to accept to be called :).

 

Anyway. I like how you write about many historical events, as Tony mentioned, and you to speak from its name. Very profound way of expressing, and extreme I would say.

 

Nice write, Bren.

 

Aleksandra

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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I agree with what Tony said. The narration of the story is believable, it brings me back to those I read in the war time, very universal. I especially like the description of the inner activities of the characters. When will the war end? When will the hatred end?

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Hi Brendan, You make history come alive. This was a whole lot easier to read than your last one and I felt like I was there.

 

The last couple of stanzas as Tony pointed out are so powerful. I wanted to cry.

 

Thanks for this wonderful piece.

 

~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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This is all bullshit aside. Naked revenge makes the true human shudder. Will we all ever become truly civilized. Or is that what the problem is?

 

Good write, Brenno. I would have never known this bit of history. I would dearly love to see a map of that fort.

Edited by waxwings
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As always, you are a brilliant writer, one who puts me to shame- Your command of language, your authorial perspective is just astonishing- I was there! and all who read will say the same- just a brilliant, brilliant piece...

 

Man! I envy you;-)

 

J&DC

Gate(less.thumb.png.dc23b19d2478d37a9f6fcdc563973026.pnghttps://conjurd.substack.com/welcome Come on over and check out my poetry substack y'all;-)

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