Ecclesiastes By Derek Mahon

God, you could grow to love, it, God-fearing, God-
chosen purist little puritan that,
for all your wiles and smiles, you are… (the dank
churches, the empty streets, the shipyard silence, the tied-up swings)                                   and shelter your cold heart from the heat
of the world, from woman-inquisition, from the
bright eyes of children. Yes, you could
wear black, drink water, nourish a fierce zeal
with locusts and wild honey, and not
feel called upon to understand and forgive
but only to speak with a bleak
afflatus, and love the January rains when they
darken the dark doors and sink hard
into the Antrim hills, the bog meadows, the heaped
graves of your fathers. Bury that red
bandana and stick, that banjo; this is your
country, close one eye and be king.
Your people await you, their heavy washing
flaps for you in the housing estates –
a credulous people. God, you could do it, God
help you, stand on a corner stiff
with rhetoric, promising nothing under the sun.


About Author Annette J Dunlea Irish Writer

Irish Writer Website: Twitter: @adunlea Facebook:
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