Saturday 3 February 2007

Irish Cowboys

First Published in Prairie Poetry Ezine

It's a very nostalgiac poem; the games and illusions of childhood and the fascination exerted on us by America - a place that seemed as real as Dublin and as unreal as Narnia, at the same time.

Irish Cowboys

The wild west for us
was never the stone walls
and fragments of land between them
the ragged, wild, bog-spawned
west of Ireland
It was a topography, a dialect, a code
as familiar as our parents
or our national tongue
gleaned from Television, old movies
dog-eared paperbacks.
We were born in Dublin
but we all, each one,
roamed the wild praries
hunting buffalo in our souls
spat tobaccy and smoked Marlborough
walked bowlegged - howdy pardner -
or grim and gimlet-eyed, we eyed the
scorching sun
talking in monosyllabic knowing exchanges
about drought, and cattle dying, and crops failing
thwarted in our childish hearts by
near incessant rain
and insolent verdant green.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


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