The Emigrant Irish
An Origin Like Water: Collected Poems, 1967 - 1987
of our houses, of our minds. We had lights
better then, newer than, and then
a time came, this time and now
we need them. Their dread makeshift example.
They would have thrived on our necessities.
What they survived we could not even live.
By their lights now it is time to
imagine how they stood there, what they stood with,
that their possessions might become our power.
Cardboard. Iron. Their hardships parceled in them.
Patience. Fortitude. Long-suffering
in the bruise-colored dusk of the New World.
And all the old songs. And nothing to lose.