Easter Rising

The mirror ripples from the single stone of your life.
In the dream gourd of the skull now see
Sackville Street in smithereens, rumour riding
Ireland like a nightmare, the red glare at night
And sunlight burning on the Liffey like armour.
Great-breasted Calliope with her magic grammar
Troubles the darkness into song: the Aud lies wrecked
At the bottom of the water, while here clouds of dust
And smoke consume Kelly’s tackle shop, the DBC café,
Hopkins & Hopkins, jewellers, and the Imperial Hotel.
Elsewhere, Jutland and Verdun grumble and thunder
While here the dead horse stiffens on the empty street.
Elsewhere, time is streaming away, but here the past lingers
Like Pompeii graffiti. Time moves slowly through you
As Hector is dragged through the dust and debris.
This train, or the other one, begins to move.
I don‘t know whether I‘m coming or going.
A dream or sword opens my flesh above the dark pool.
I have walked through history to the other side.
Aeneas, Odysseus, drifting on the same sea.

Almost a life, not quite a death, an Ireland
Of cloud swims slowly through the sky above the Post Office.
Mauser and Maxim, Lee Enfield and Lewis gun
Bark and chatter across the barricades.
The burnt-out trams and the ricochets,
Imagine these too, as the moon lies oystered in cloud.
O in the book of my soul now I read
How those Amazonian solitudes have led
To this strange desert, this barbarous tongue.
Sackville Street is speaking in flames, in smithereens
And dead language poetry where English ends.
This interrupted dream of life, the wandering planets
Have already forgotten this lost world
But the future too can be remembered.
Time moves slowly through you as the Liffey
Rivering with pain reaches the sea.
An Ireland of cloud swimming slowly through the sky,
I wake with the taste of Gaelic in my mouth.
Aeneas, Odysseus, drifting on the same sea.
I have walked through the other side of history.

From The Casement Sonata,
Words: Friday & McCabe