For St. Patrick's Day and my ancestors who made the long trip from Ireland to New Zealand in the 19th century.
However tall your ships were, how long
they took to reach your chosen shores,
could they contain intact your beating hearts,
swollen with leaving, aching with imminent
arrival; the slow salt haul on following seas?
Were prayers said daily, attempting to appease
those catholic saints, their shapes reminiscent
of wet lands you left in colder parts
particularising rain? Did you pack your laws,
clutch them closely, like an Irish song?
How do we feel the sorrow leaving brings
but by a return in our imaginings.
Arthur, can I use your poem in my class on national identity?
Hi Julie, I’d be honoured if you did. Thank you.
Hi Julie, I’d feel very honoured if you did. Thank you.