‘Final Bonfire’ © Joe Canning 2017. All Rights Reserved. 

‘Final Bonfire’
© Joe Canning 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Here in this small corner of my very troubled land,
Crocodiles and dinosaurs bite off each others hands.
We have vipers spitting poison as they linger in the past.
And the mention of a name can tell if you are church or Mass.

They fight o’er flags and beat their drums,
Pay homage to King Billy and so it rolls and rambles on
With the poppy and the lily.
Some pick on new arrivals that flee from savage lands
Hound these families from their homes with petrol bomb in hand.

They sit around large tables in that castle on the hill,
And tell the world they can’t agree because there’s no goodwill.
And all the time the young, the old, disabled and the sick
Pay for the intransigence of Seamus’s and Micks.

And just across the water there’s the folk they love and hate,
Who really do not give a damn about this fractured state.
Who dwell on triumphs of the past and praise dead kings and queens
And really couldn’t give a damn for Oranges and Greens.

They argue ’bout a border that our island home divides,
A frontier drawn when thousands died that swallowed Britain’s lies.
But me, I’m just a dreamer and my dream I hope comes true,
For in it I saw signs of hope in an integrated school.

Dreamed I saw a bonfire and heard screaming in the smoke
Old dinosaurs of every kind in green and orange coats
And at the bottom dancing round and singing as they watched
Were the children that ignited it, with an integrated match.


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Stair na hÉireann is steeped in Ireland's turbulent history, culture, ancient secrets and thousands of places that link us to our past and the present. With insight to folklore, literature, art, and music, you’ll experience an irresistible tour through the remarkable Emerald Isle.