Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

The Irish in Me

Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

The Irish in Me

Article excerpt

Stand back from me

as if from a window

cleared by a sniper.

The Irish in me have had every sacrament

winched down into them

like small engines flaming.

They crochet lace with meat hooks.

Pray Jesus right out of the pyx.

A dream, a lie,

a wager home,

everything lost or broken

the Irish in me ride the lion of poetry

out of the desert of many pints.

They cut sod into stanzas

and burn.

Every student of lucidity is dangerous.

Mine carry a Bible and a bomb

and understand the usefulness of each,

which is to say

they have a sense of humor,

but for Christ's sake,

do not sing to them.

They form a mob as easily as breathing,

they are first-class fatalists,

my pugilists, my barkeeps, my nuns, my fairy priests,

my ironworkers,

my scholars,

my one Protestant extremist

scraping his bowl of rue;

not yet but soon

they will ask you for something beautiful

you cannot give them,

a job or their freedom, and in failing that,

you will prove yourself worthy

of their great, doomed love. …

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