Irish Declamation – Mary Madec

We have divided a majority from a minority
to make a nation,
declared possession of land, occupation
of houses to qualify for equal rights

The last examples of our heritage, Irish Travellers
up against the vilest prejudice,
differences carefully fostered by our own government
without any help from the aliens.

On the side of the road two families in flames.
Sedentaries looking on at how
Irish society has gone to blazes,
for one moment wishing

there was a hell to go to,
where justice might be done,
a God still in heaven we might invoke
upon our arms

to embrace those who stand and wait
on dental records. Ash scattered
to bitter easterlies.
Not screened off as in St. Jerome’s
No, not even bones and no home.

About the author

Mary Madec was born and raised in Mayo. She wrote her MA on the Old English lyric and has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in linguistics. In 2008 she was the recipient of the Hennessy XO Emerging Poetry Prize. She has two collections from Salmon Poetry, In Other Words (2010) and Demeter Does Not Remember(2014). She directs the Study Abroad Program for Villanova University on site in Ireland.

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