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Poetry Magnum Opus



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You are sobbing, girl,

and your head is thrust against my chest

as I hold you tight.


You don’t want to look:

the burnt bodies, the smell of flayed meat,

disjointed arms and legs and heads.


This is what we do,

this is what THEY do

for the sake of Irish freedom


and I think I don’t like it,

I don’t like it one little bit.

I was just a simple man with a rifle


in the beginning, as we all were,

and now this shit is coming down

more and more. Another fifty yards


and you and me would’ve been gone.

They don’t fuckin listen, you know,

and if you try to back out they shoot you.


War brings out the psycopaths

on every side. You have to grin and slide

or get the fuck out. I want to


get out now, get away from these bombs,

from the whole rotten murderous atmosphere,

and will you come with me?


How can I come with you, darling boy?

This is my home, my life, my city.

I will never leave. I will stay until I die.

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

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An agonizingly slow agony. They all get slower with time. I felt this one to my core. After two tours, I was ordered back in two weeks. Refused. Didn't have to go the first time as last son. Colonel swore I would go. He didn't know I could write. SAC headquarters sent my reprieve within two days. The Ass dragged me before the Wing Commander, who listened to both stories. See, I had all these pieces of metal and ribbons on my chest already. The commander said, to the affect, that he had the same exemption from war and that if his family knew, they would insist he never go back. Major Harden, you're dismissed; Colonel, I'd like a few words with you. That was my about face order and shunning instigated by the same Colonel. He ordered me into exile in the north, where I enjoyed six-months of teaching and fishing for my favorite smallmouths, all returned safely for another day.


Oh, and thank you Bren for a wonderful poem. Five stars--same as Eisenhower.

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For a lot of people in Ireland the attachment is umbilical - they can never cut the chord. Until the Famine of 1845-50 shook the country to its foundations the Irish were the most stay-at-home people in Europe!

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

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David W. Parsley

Brendan, with forebears so long in this country, I have lost much of my Irish traditions somewhere back in the hills of West Virginia and Tennessee. American through and through, most of my folks beat the potato famine rush. Your lyrics and narratives bring a lot of it home for me. This one is so sobering, brings it truly home.


Thanks (I think),

- Dave

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