One last poem for National Poetry Month. I had a number to possible poems that I was considering, but in the end settled with Donagh MacDonagh’s “Dublin Made Me” – I have a love-hate relationship with Dublin in that I loved what it was when I was growing up there and hate what it has become (a generic European city). MacDonagh expressed the arrogance of city-boys like me.
Dublin made me and no little town
With the country closing in on its streets
The cattle walking proudly on its pavements
The jobbers, the gombeenmen and the cheats
Devouring the fair-day between them
A public-house to half a hundred men
And the teacher, the solicitor and the bank-clerk
In the hotel bar drinking for ten.
Dublin made me, not the secret poteen still
The raw and hungry hills of the West
The lean road flung over profitless bog
Where only a snipe could nest
Where the sea takes its tithe of every boat.
Bawneen and currach have no allegiance of mine,
Nor the cute self-deceiving talkers of the South
Who look to the East for a sign.
The soft and dreary midlands with their tame canals
Wallow between sea and sea, remote from adventure
And Northward a far and fortified province
Crouches under the lash of arid censure.
I disclaim all fertile meadows, all tilled land
The evil that grows from it and the good,
But the Dublin of old statutes, this arrogant city
Stirs proudly and secretly in my blood.
For those of you who may want to check out more Irish poetry, you could do worse that check here.