The gift

The dverse prompt this evening is a serious one, to take a quote from someone who spoke out about social justice, human rights, or equality and use it in a poem. I haven’t chosen a peaceful quote, because in some circumstances and in some epochs, peace was not an option. As a child, I remember heated Michael Collins versus de Valera arguments at family gatherings fifty years after Collins was assassinated. This is a quote of his I’m fond of.  The words of the quote are in bold.

798px-Michael_Collins_addressing_crowd_in_Cork_cph.3b15295

 

The gift that he gave us was to

Give us the future,

Though the future would be tough,

And much blood was left to shed.

But we’d had enough of hunger,

Eight centuries and more, so

We’ve had enough of your past

He said, let us build our own today.

He made them Give us back our country,

Our fields and our townships,

To live in, as our hearts say,

And to grow in, as a people,

And he dared to tell them why,

We would fight to have them gone—

That a country is a home,

A country is to Love.

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Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

47 thoughts on “The gift”

    1. I think he was too close to the people to have had ideas of ‘nation’. That was more de Valera. Collins just wanted the English out and to be able to do things the Irish way. If that involved paying lip service to the Empire, he would have accepted it.

  1. The idea that anyone should be forced to live another’s past — for what, nostalgia’s sake? — is inconceivable. That a whole country would be suppressed so that another can live in the present and for the future just goes to show that the world is not as progressive and enlightened as it wants to believe. Great job on the prompt, Jane.

    1. Thank you. I think Collins was thinking of the occupation that had gone on for hundreds of years, and for all that time denying the indigenous population the right to live as they had before, to the extent of making the speaking of the Irish language, like practicing the Catholic religion an offence. They were not allowed to own any land and lived in conditions of misery more abject than the plantation slaves in America, according to Engels. It was theft of the past and denial of a future. I’m pleased you liked it 🙂

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