OH COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY

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Oh country, my country,

once born in your troubled times
and raised by the banks where your Liffey lies,
I followed the paths of generations moved on
to see what they’d built, to see where they’d gone,
but returned to a home now seriously lacking
a nation of consumers complaining and attacking.
Where are your parishioners, the pride of your isle,
your Emerald’s glory once renowned for its smile?

Oh country, dear country,

now bigger than ever in girth if not majesty,
in greed if not glory, in makeup if not unity.
What has become of those simple smiles,
captured in bar songs of other times?
Is summer gone, have the flowers died
did Danny not return to his father’s side?
A nation once raised on songs and stories,
of people poor but proud of their glories.
Are you better beings in designer labels,
Gucci in hand and louboutin’s under tables?
Maleficent muttons playing innocent lambs
slaughtering histories with blood stained palms.

Oh country, once my country,

there’s no truth to your hunger or depth to your drunkenness,
no moral in your manners or reason for your forgetfulness.
Who’ll be your heroes in the years still to come,
who’ll hear your cries and who’ll beat your drum?
Collins was martyred and there’s no more de Valera
the last of your greats were the end of an era,
now it’s fools fickle to the latest fashion fads
tarted-up teenagers and under aged dads.

Oh country, fallen country,

once a force of marching freedom
while looking to other lands for asylum,
now turned and twisted into narrow opinions
while others seek help and die in their millions.
How has racism risen so loud
in a place once paraded as peaceful and proud,
where its people filled ships that sailed on the seas
in the hope that other lands would hear their pleas,
can you rise again from your Holy Ground
adding names to the list of your heroes renowned?

Oh country, lost country,

where Mary’s cries still ring out to the sea
for Michael who told her nothing matter’s when you’re free,
have you washed down too much of your own importance
and forgotten the fight for your own independence?
Can it be that the tiger, in departing, took your best;
your heart and your soul and just spat out the rest.

Oh country, what country,

how can I find my way back to before
when all I once loved has slipped from your shore?

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All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Photograph taken at across the fields at sunset in Lusk, Co. Dublin , Ireland

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3 thoughts on “OH COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY

    1. deuxiemepeau

      Very true, Jane. It’s funny what you see from the distance of another shore, what you pick up walking alongside other cultures, sometimes you forget what your eyes have seen is not what everyone has noticed.

      1. Jane Dougherty

        I have faith individuals, not cultures. Too many complacencies, received wisdoms, platitudes and clichés. It doesn’t diminish Michael Collins that he has so many followers who take his name in vain.

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