Patrick O'Reilly

Rookie (1988 / St John's, NL)

An Old Irish Song - Poem by Patrick O'Reilly

In the downtown clubs you can hear them singing.
Ghost's songs stepping off the coffin ships
Which carried them across that broad Western ocean.

The music remains.
Hangs on the air like a million billows of smoke
Pouring out the chimneys of sad outport homes on the shoreline,
Like so many blooming stars.

These pubs are warmer churches,
And their own sweet gospel, the songs our fathers sang,
Are real, and holy.
They are the lullabyes your mama sang to you in the night,
The angry war cries your brothers shouted in fights,
The nursery rhymes your sisters skipped to.

Whack Fo Lol De Ra

Sing along.
They were designed for it!
Made to be written in some corner of an unknown kitchen.
And passed from generation to generation
Since your family left in black 47.

Do the ghosts of that wave
Walk the docks and streets of some downtown port
And hear this homesick blues?

Comments about An Old Irish Song by Patrick O'Reilly

  • (7/11/2006 2:50:00 PM)

    A stirring piece Patrick. Go raibh maith agat (Report)Reply

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  • (7/2/2006 1:15:00 PM)

    Irishness is a place my friend as solid as the earth of home Irishness is a heart abroad and no Irish heart will ever be alone! ! !


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  • (5/31/2006 2:44:00 PM)

    Loathe to be the typical trademark Irish girl but this poem is truly touching. Keep singing along.

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  • (3/13/2006 1:14:00 PM)

    Very nice pat, your true Irish.


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Poem Submitted: Sunday, March 12, 2006

Poem Edited: Tuesday, June 20, 2006

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