Saint Patrick’s Day: a poem

[Originally published by Goodreads]

connemara_rainbowRemember where you came from
You whose name is Kelly, Sullivan, O’Brien.
A land of rich beauty and heroic deed,
Of dripping poverty and oppression.

They said you deserved no better,
You of a selfish, perverse, and turbulent race,
Your blackened field and hungry belly
Were due to your defect of character.

You escaped on groaning ships
That left a trail of bones across the ocean.

You arrived, wretched of the earth,
They said you were filthy and indolent,
Adherents of a foreign religion,
Terrorists in the shadows.

You dug their ditches,
You scrubbed their floors,
You rose,
And became them.

Now you proudly wear the green.
And you say that poverty is the fault of the poor.
You say that refugees on creaking ships
Are like locusts.
You say that those of foreign beliefs
Are a dark looming threat.

May your ancestors rise
And beat you with a blackthorn stick.
May you chew on your shamrock
Until you taste the bitterness
Until your mouth turns green.

Until you remember
Where you came from.

  • by Fiona Honor Hurley