Monday, September 19, 2011

Song from an Unnamed Boy

This poem was written after I visited the cemetary at Letterfrack, Connemara in 2009 with friend and poet, Daniel Tobin. It is my attempt to give voice to all the young boys who died at the Industrial School due to neglect and abuse and are buried there. It is taken from my collaboration with Lisa C. Taylor titled The Other Side of Longing (Arlen House,2011)

Song from an Unnamed Boy
(Letterfrack Graveyard 2009)

When I was a child I ate fire for breakfast,
the dark was a lantern-shaped star
I pulled on a string with the moon bright behind me
through the world with its window ajar.

The clouds held onto the rain every morning,
the cows looked out to the edge of the sea,
until men told my father I only spelled trouble,
school was the place where my soul could run free.

That lie was a snake in the wall that was waiting.
When I rattled the loose stones, its venom fell out.
Bread that they baked held the sting of a scorpion,
eating their hypocrisy dressed up as devout.

My sorrow unmasked,they stamped on my laughter.
I was the lamb being dragged to the slaughter.

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