Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Emigrant Irish by Eavan Boland

With Thanksgiving less than two days away, I would like to point out that some of this poem makes me think of the pilgrims and their Mayflower journey, how they too would have "thrived on our necessities" and how we could not have survived their plight, let alone lived it.


The Emigrant Irish by Eavan Boland

Like oil lamps, we put them out the back —

of our houses, of our minds. We had lights
better than, newer than and then

a time came, this time and now
we need them. Their dread, makeshift example:

they would have thrived on our necessities.
What they survived we could not even live.
By their lights now it is time to
imagine how they stood there, what they stood with,
that their possessions may become our power:
Cardboard. Iron. Their hardships parceled in them.
Patience. Fortitude. Long-suffering
in the bruise-colored dusk of the New World.

And all the old songs. And nothing to lose.

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