Day 49: Ireland

Green pastures stretch and grow so ever strong

To stand upon earth cold and unyielding,

You’ll see her faithful tides come here and sting

Salt spray upon our heads to cleanse all wrong.

And cry the wind shall shout all raspy breath,

Torn hats dance jigs forelorenly whisked away

So weary men with scratching beards do pray,

Shivering knee-bent thinking nought but death.

Yet when the wintry snow does cast in white

All loch and bower all sea and hill-top,

Such souls are warmed by flame, for they do swap

Onerous work for long-treasured Gaelic night.

Rich laughter sing-song dulcet tones made bold,

Accompanied by thudding Irish drum

And strumming hands rhythm made by thumb,

Fiercely ward off gloomy night’s dreaded cold.

Yellowed flames crackle in the blackened hearth,

Uilleann pipes do bellow loud with cheer,

They sip Craythur and laugh away all fear,

Then stagger drunk along their home-bound path.

And whilst in their blanket beds they lie,

Sound asleep snore softly but to dream

Of Summer’s pleasant breeze and sunny beam,

When red apples pressed and corncrakes do fly.

Then look toward Macgillycuddy’s Reeks,

Kerry’s black stacks of Irish earth piled high

To stand proud beneath such cadmium sky,

And guide fishing ships to Killarney shore.

“Oh for the land we love we do toil”,

To reap the fruits of labour sweat and blood,

Fight tooth and nail to keep this grass and mud,

To earn the right to call this land our soil.

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