A Patriot – Mike Gallagher

A Patriot
In Memory of Paddy Bond

Of a sudden, he was there, among us,
weaving his way through crowds engrossed
in other things, the booze, the craic, the dance.
His practised eye homed in, found familiar
faces, his regular clientele, cultivated over
decades, forty years of trudging through
the scoffing hordes, a stranger among his own,
his message spurned by those it sought to salve.
‘Irish Democrat, Irish Democrat,’ his soft voice
bounced off dancehall’s din, the memory
of his idol crushed beneath our waltzing feet:
When they murdered James Connolly
the Irish rebel.
Scarce the few who knew
the man, a son of landed gentry stock,
proud offspring of a hero of ’98, Cambridge
scholar; no reason there to traipse hard, Marxist
roads, only a love of justice and humanity, a passion
for his native soil.
Gone now as quietly as he came;
and the Saturday night patriots
still call for one last fling:
let’s raise our fists, lets shimmy to
Sean South of Garryowen.
(From Stick on Stone)

Mike Gallagher, writer, poet and editor, was born on Achill Island and worked in London for forty years before retiring to Kerry. His prose, poetry, haiku and songs have been published in Ireland and throughout Europe, America, Australia, Nepal, India, Thailand, Japan and Canada. His writing has been translated into Croatian, Japanese, Dutch, German and Chinese.
He won the 2009 Samhlaiocht Slam, the 2010 Michael Hartnett Viva Voce competition, he was shortlisted for the Hennessy Award in 2011 and won the Desmond O’Grady International Poetry Contest in 2012.
His poetry collection Stick on Stone was published by Revival Press in 2013.

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