Posted by: irishhungercomm | May 4, 2011

An Gorta Mór – A Question of Hunger… by Denise Ryan

From Michael Blanch

This is a poem written by Denise Ryan that will be recited at this years Dublin Commemoration as part of the National Famine Memorial Day.

Denise wrote a poem last year which was read at the Dublin Commemoration and the overseas twinning event in New York in Battery Park when President McAleese officiated at the Ceremony.

If you wish to use the Poem at any of your commemorations Denise has given her approval.

Kind regards.

Michael Blanch

An Gorta Mór – A Question of Hunger

She wore a cloak of misery,
a bane so heavy to bear,
woven with greed and hunger,
sowed in threads of despair.
Coarse is the Northern Wind –
a reflection of her decay –
thin is the weeping Sun
on a grey sullen day.

Had our crop become deranged,
rebellious like those who ruled,
or was the seed pure evil
and our forefathers fooled?
Upon a land nursing vengeance,
holding secrets of her own,
stamping out our sweet potatoes
for bitter Peels’ brimstone.

On the beseeching hills
the blight freely raged,
dragging sacks of bones
to decay in untimely graves.
The landlords grew fat
in the face of mass hunger,
tanked on our blood
they pillaged and plundered.

A proud nation once nurtured
on a free mothers’ tongue,
saw famine march the land
as the queens songs were sung.
Villages turned to peasantry,
the parishes slowly crumbled;
fathers wailed at their lazy beds
when starving children stumbled.

The rising rents forced
our flocks to flee,
like evicted birds
across the myriad sea.
With broken wings they
fought so hard to fly –
from earths dark soil
the echoes of the migrants cried.

The blight held Eire by her throat
that led the way for the coffin boats –
ghost ships that plagued the virgin tide
with souls from the famine above the ocean wide.
Trevelyan, your God had a more cunning plan:
to plant fresh seeds of the Irish clan.


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