Sunday, November 30, 2014

Across the Grey Atlantic: Creative Platypus

Across the grey Atlantic,
Across Saint Brendan’s sea,
Is the land where the lairds wear sackcloth
And all the serfs are free.

Across the grey Atlantic,
Across the spume and foam,
Lies the land of the Imrams castles
Where a Gael can find a home.

In the green fields of Elysium,
Every blade of grass is a sword
To pierce the feet of trespassers
In the Garden of the Lord.

Just so the Emerald Isle,
Though enslaved and conquered be,
Will never lack for weapons
To set her people free.

But wars go on forever
And the killing's never done
Though the smoke rise up to heaven
And strike from the sky the Sun.

So many Gaels went wandering
Across the Earth’s expanse,
To find fair fields in foreign lands
Where peaceful feet could dance.

They flooded into Boston,
Found safe harbor in New York,
And others flew to southern climes
As surely as the stork.

They raked the bogs for cranberries
While old Thoreau explained
That if they'd just be Englishmen
They needn't take such pains.

They built the mighty railroads
With thundering tracks of steel
And made the lonely prairies groan
Beneath the iron wheel.

In Savannah and in Charleston
They fought for blue and grey
And turned the earth to Ireland
Where’er their bodies lay.

They saved their pennies one by one
And carved in wood and stone
Till up they raised Saint Patrick’s spires
And made this land their own.

So now we dye the rivers green
On old Saint Patty’s Day.
But other things are quite forgot
We’ve been so long away.

What does it mean to be a Celt,
A Norman, or a Dane,
When here in Teddy’s melting pot
We’re pretty much the same?

I speak the language of my foes,
Pass with an English name,
And I’d raise a cry of righteous wrath
If someone were to blame.

But still the blades of Irish grass
Wave like a press of swords
Held high by arch-angelic hands
In the Hour of the Lord.

Oh God on high, You heard our cry
And set this people free.
Stretch out Your hand, raise from this land
A single sword to Thee.

Across the grey Atlantic,
Across Saint Brendan’s sea,
Is the land where the lairds wear sackcloth
And all the serfs are free.

Across the grey Atlantic,
Across the spume and foam,
Lies the land of the Imrams castles
Where a Gael can find a home.

2 comments:

Elena Johnston said...

Wow. Breathtaking.

James said...

So glad you liked it! It's meant to be a companion piece with The Ballad of William Goffe, Patriots in Exile and the Wasteland-like series from last year. I was afraid the meter would make it doggerel, but then it started sounding like Chesterton, so I ran with it.