Ireland is an on-the-road machine Ireland is so far gone from Joyce's Dublin Ireland is Cúchulainn with a hurley Ireland is English Ireland is Tír na nÓg Ireland is a ghost estate Ireland is a gloc pointed at someone's son Ireland is a teen-brained new-age lap dancer Ireland is veins, butterfat with broadband & self hatred.
Ireland is an on-the-road machine
It's existentially frightened out there It's got alloy wheels and tinted windows It can tear ye limb from limb, or stop & offer you a lift.
Ireland is so far gone from Joyce's Dublin But still full of the dead, and snow, upon Quickly snorted cocaine breaths we go. Ireland is a badly bred famine-stricken Flea-bitten jallopy of a piebald horse Galloping down O'Connell Street,
Ireland is Cúchulainn with a hurley Gurning off his head on creatine, punching The face off the referee, before sticking Him in the boot with sectarianism And the Disappeared.
Ireland is a copper who looks like Brendan Gleeson in Into the West, in a chopper, Who'll put heroin in your hands and say:
Grand so, thanks for the fingerprints don't let the coffin door hit ye on the way out, after ye hang yerself, with your shoelaces.
Ireland is English, whether it likes it or not 'Cause it's laughing at Newswipe & Mock the Week
Choking on M&S food and ruining Its new Debenhams' top,
Ireland is a gloc pointed at someone's son or a Christian Brother, or its own mother because she won't move into the nursing home,
Ireland is Tír na nÓg, Oisín saying doh! When his saddle broke, vikings raving On Wood Key Hill, monks driving Hum-vees Through round towers they built,
St Patrick standing with his fire on the mound Saying:
honestly now that money was just resting in my account
Ireland is a teen-brained new-age lap dancer Getting drunk, getting chlamydia of the soul From too much unprotected facebooking Down the boreens of a ghost estate Searcing for Foxrock.
Ireland is veins, butterfat with broadband & self-hatred, caught in the loop Of a money shot lasoo, faux-hawked Pentecostal Iconoclast, yahoo, a liar, in flames, in denial, In the X Factor final of bullshit, Gerry Adams is kissing Barbara Streisand, Bertie Ahern on-screen crying, suicide, alcoholics, junkies, Gunmen, dying & dying and dying, and it's all so Fucking electrifying, coz we're fumbling blind, We've no idea what we're doing, no idea where We're going, and we're almost there.
Ireland is an on the road machine Ireland is so far gone from Joyce's Dublin Ireland is Cúchulainn with a hurley Ireland is English Ireland is Tír na nÓg Ireland is a ghost estate Ireland is a gloc pointed at someone's son Ireland is none of the above,
Coz we're fumbling blind; we've no idea What we're doing, we've no idea where We're going, and we're almost there.
Shirley Chance is a soundcloud account hosting a powerful version of the poem above, Ireland Is, by its author, Clondalkin poet Colm Keegan, one of two contestants representing Leinster in a live poetry competition, reciting this one that, along with two other poems, got him placed first, at this year's All Ireland Poetry Slam Championship, 30th October last, at the International bar, Wicklow Street, Dublin; in the full ninety minute video of this live poetry competition you can enjoy when watching the video below.
Keegan is a very talented live poet and writer, three times shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award, for both poetry and fiction. In 2008 he was shortlisted for the International Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition, and is currently working on a first novel and a collection of poems.
The event was organised, hosted and MC'd, by Tallaght poet, Stephen James Smith, whose Glór poetry and song Sessions facilitated both the Leinster heat, on Monday 25 October and the final on Saturday 30 October - Samhain Eve.
Traditionally in Ireland, during the bardschool era, at this cardinal, three day transition phase from the three prior months of Beltaine, to Samhain, summer's end; assemblies from the five Irish provinces at Tara Hill - the seat of the Irish high king - gathered in a grand annual meeting, where they celebrated with horse races, fairs, markets, political discussions, ritual law making and poetic court hearings, mourning for the ending of the light half of a bardic year, and an ushering in of the colder, harsher half of the Irish filidh (poets) year. Lighting a flame from the high king's fire, it spread across this country in a time now gone, long past.
Samhain eve also marked the beginning of a student bard's six-month academic year, taught, learned and practiced from sunset's end to Beltaine (bright-half) May 1, on a fixed, singular, island-wide course of dán (poetry), in which the memorisation of 350 seperate ficticious and factual narratives, constituted the core & key a bard needed to unlock their skeletal selves, during Samhain-Imbolc winter/spring - when they studied, worked on and progressed through, a 12 year course.
From word-weaving beginner foclo of the first grade, through seven semesters spent acquiring the five, 'universally' recognized poetic grades, Macfuirmid, Dos, Cano, Cli, arriving at the penultimate, sixth grade of Anruth - 'great stream' - five years away from attaining their final, highest, most sacred, profane, sorrowful & comedic poetry professorship of Ollamh (pronounced ulav) when their log n-ech 'face-price' for spinning bardic dán, brought to them the collective cultural memory - On Coimgne - of bodies and souls formed by his or her Sidhe, stretching far back to a famine daze easy to forget, pay lip service to, losing the run of ourselves and tripping into a delusionally induced debt-madness, created in brief bursts of abundent imbas, its repercussions felt for decades to come in Ireland and elsewhere, possibly, people in it, a ship of state heading straight & staggering to one thing, some claim, is the most deleterious to them - Sovereign you, 'us' people waking to the outline of an iceberg this year's winning rhymes tip thru, lighting autumn's winter portal-point and practice for the good of natural unity, in these unprecedented times, an artist-pool making broke in Ireland Is, poetic magic.