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Poetry Magnum Opus



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Nothing means nothing at all

until historians knock, come in to call

and place their markers here and there.

Never knew what was happening, I swear,

until I read your best-selling book,

Mister or Missus or Mizz.


I was living through historic times

with no sense of a change, the range

of the stones we threw was paramount,

and as a revolution this would not amount

to much, but it did in Palestine. I am amazed

how the rebel Irish set the tone, dazed


by the way people get shot down

or clubbed or imprisoned, in India,

South Africa, Syria, you fuckin name it,

and I know we are the the guys to blame

for telling people to get off their knees

and stand up. Cousin Martin back in the day


was living in Amerikay, minding his own

bizness, getting along so easily as the Irish do,

when they fucked him into the military, sent

him off to Vietnam. I don’t like this, says Martin,

gazing on the departing body bags. I think this'll

soon be me, with no return to Éireann m' chree!


It was a very bad war to send in the Irish,

because like the Mexican War a century before

they felt a certain sympathy for the other side.

Who’s beating the fuck out of whom and why?

Racism kicked in, and also loyalty to friends,

but it was a wrong war against the wrong people


with a need to make amends. I don’t know

if we can ever do so. Every single bloody war

America starts, and by God they start a lot of them,

the Irish are right there by their side. They say

they are Americans now. I believe that, how

could you not believe them? It’s in your face, it’s true,


but for God’s sake don't be so stupid, don't be dense,

stop pushing, and have a wee bit of sense! America may

have sent us the blight but we sent them a million people

in return, to live with, to fight for them, and whose belief

is still with that Shining City Upon the Hill, and the will

to be a free people living in a free country.

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

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  • 2 weeks later...

I always enjoy your firsthand perspective, Brendan. Though I grew up in New England and lived amongst a sizable population of them all my life, I still struggle to understand the Irish. I learn a bit about the culture each time I read your poems.



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

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