An Indifferent Irishman Signs My Petition

I ask if he can spare a minute and he says yes.
This is about your ancestors and mine, I say,
how, forced off the land, they sailed west
to Boston where, if they didn’t die on the way,
they and their faith were scorned in the schools.

He listens, a bit distracted I can see.
He has work he’d rather do
than listen to a lurid history
told by a man too full of rue.
He lumps me with the zealots and other fools

who have yet to learn that the fight is done;
they won, but so did we, and a truce was called.
We have the jobs they kept us from
if we want them; why should history be recalled
when there is now a fair if tenuous set of rules?

He hears me out and signs the sheet;
it costs him nothing but a moment’s scribbling.
He hands it back, I sense his need to be discreet
with one who holds a grudge–there’s no use quibbling.
What would his forefathers say, the fierce O’Tooles?

Views: 27

Comment by Rita Shibr on March 19, 2017 at 5:08pm

My grandfather Francis X kept a wooden sign on his desk that read "No Irish"  just to remind him. One thing I really hate about St Patty's Day is that everyone concentrates on beer and dancing. My Irish grandfathers and greatgrandfathers and mothers were decimated by TB,  orphaned and lived in poverty yet survived and thrived.  It's not all fun and leprechauns.  I think this speaks to it. 

Comment by Con Chapman on March 19, 2017 at 5:15pm

Thanks. I am Irish on my father's side but can pass because my grandmother (an O'Keefe) married a Chapman, an English name (from Cheapman, an itinerant merchant. You wouldn't believe the things I've heard in Boston, most Irish of American cities.


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