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The Return to Erin of Conor MacArt


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Fill ar ais go hÉirinn de Conor MacArt

The Return to Erin of Conor MacArt

ca. 1575

(following his many travels and adventures as outlined in the previous seven episodes of this uplifting, sad, but in many ways useful tale for the beneficial training of Christian Youth)




Three years in a darkened prison, by God,

and myself snivelling and whining for food,

kissing hands of any man who brought me water.


God blast the heathen Jew and Paynim!

I would roar in my black and fearful cell

and the rats would cock their heads to listen.


Bert, my servant, had been summarily executed,

thanks be to God, he with no more stories to tell,

caught stealing bread from homeless orphans.


‘Twas that bread that barely kept me alive

until the summons came, a flood of sunlight,

illuminating stones, the cause of a shriek of pain.


The chains and manacles were roughly removed,

and I was bathed and shaved and pomaded.

Arra, this is looking good, says I to myself.


A ship. The Great Suleiman has paid your ransom

I was curtly told, and I confess I was none too pleased,

but then we fell among moustachioed Cypriot pirates.


There was a great furore and a clanging of swords

and when they came down to kill us all, I sang

Kyrie, Kyrie Eleison, Kyrie Kyrie Eleison.


They dropped to their blood-drenched shaggy knees

and asked if I was a priest. I was, I told them,

and was escorted most politely to the upper deck.


I did solemn funeral ceremonies for the Christian dead

while the Turks were simply cast over the side.

I suggested a collection for the widows and children.


Now that I had money I was ablaze to get ashore

and was dropped, feigning illness, on an island called Rhodes.

It took me half a year to get to Marsillia in France.


Erstwhile friends, with exceptions, feigned not to know me,

and it was a weary journey from the south to the north.

At long last I gazed on the turbulent, grey northern sea.


England? No, I hardly think so. That Queen is no friend.

But a long sea journey will cost more than I possess.

Sadly, regretfully, I settled on robbery and murder.


Green and yellow, under clouds, beyond blue rushing waves,

appear the long and longed-for fields of Erin.

Home is the wanderer, what fate awaits me now?

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

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An Odyssey of enterprise and wry humour-- “I suggested a collection for the widows and children. Now that I had money I was ablaze to get ashore” Enjoyed. B.


P.S. Loved the picture

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David W. Parsley

I have to confess, Brendan (though I do not suspect you to be a priest), that my youthful training was somewhat different...


Enjoyed 2,

- Dave

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  • 3 weeks later...

My, this guy has been through a lot. I suspect and fear that the wisdom of the old adage, he who lives by the sword dies by the sword, will eventually beset him.



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

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