When Irish Eyes are Happy

Photo Credit: (c) 2014 Linda M. Rhinehart Neas

With the feast of St. Patrick quickly approaching and my book on Ireland still "in the works," I decided to share some of the inspired poems from my time in the Emerald Isle. 

Nestled in the Ocean 
Tectonic plates slammed together, 
creating a land of mountains and valleys 
so rich, so green that once there 
the soul is changed forever. 
Glaciers gripped the land, 
leaving behind treasures that 
still boggle the mind of those 
who study the comings and goings 
of stones and minerals. 
Fifty-three and a smidgen degrees North 
Six and a speck degrees West, 
surrounded by wild blue ocean, 
covered in heather and peat, 
my ancestors lay silent, 
part of a historic fabric sewn 
in blood, sweat, tears and rainbows. 

LMRN © 2014  

 O’Riordan –The King’s Poet

When I was half-past six years old, 
the world still filled the 5 by 10 space of my room.
Momma said the world outside 
was large and ample like her breasts which 
comforted me long after I had weaned. 
Teacher said the world was strange and frightening -
"Heathens" lurked behind pagan monuments. 
The books from the library filled my dreams with images of 
green rolling hills, majestic mountains, desert islands, 
exotic and wonderful regalia…hand-woven, beaded, embroidered.
Inhabitants of the world looked at me through the flat pages. 
Their smiles, or lack of them, shining from eyes that knew only the 
defined space of their existence. 
How I longed to find my way back to the roots that, 
Transplanted, grew in this space, now. 
While peeling potatoes, Momma told me 
of Nana O’Riordan’s home in Ireland… 
The lush, green hills like the velvet on the rolled arms of the sofa. 
The fight to stay free…Lives lost in battles over what? 
A language, almost lost, that sounded like a lullaby, 
half remembered… 
The hard times…famine… 
Her tears fell freely, mixing with the broth. 

I finished peeling my piece of life, 
vowing at half-past six 
to return to the land that the “king’s poet” left… 
vowing to uphold the family’s gift of word… 
vowing to give back what had been taken away, 
when the potatoes rotted like a cancer in the green fields… 
vowing to share the gift of words with all those who could read or hear 
or hold a potato in their hands and still feel the life beating within. 
At half-past six years old, I stood at the threshold of my 5 by10 life, 
opened the windows of hope, looked out into the field of dreams, 
knowing that I would create the words to heal the scars left 
when Nana fled her home.
The words I would use would be balm to Momma’s soul, 
They would bring her peace. 
She would see the “King’s Poet” come alive… 
In me. 

Linda Rhinehart Neas © 2004 




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