bullet holes at the General Post Office, Dublin, 2007
Last post was praise, and I loved you joining me.
Then Sunday, the day after St. Patrick's Day, I spent hours rereading Irish history (from the Great Famine, aka the Potato Famine 1845-1852, through the Easter Rising 1916), and the poems of Padráig Pearse (Patrick Henry Pearse). He was gifted with words, and was chosen to be spokesman for the Easter Rising in 1916. He wrote of a mother’s heart awash in the blood of sons who fought for country in his poem "The Mother," something I can relate to, at least in part. (I have not had a son at war, but I have experienced childbirth, and a mother's heart.)
Sadly and synchronously, Padráig, his brother Willie and thirteen others were executed after the rebellion, after being held in the Kilmainham jail. Into our psyche all this bloody history and the bad news of today gets tucked, apart from our will or intention. (For some very good news, take 16 minutes to watch Peter Diamandis talk about Abundance in our Future in this TED video.) Anyway, I'm sorry for the downer post.
I do not grudge them: Lord, I do not grudge
My two strong sons that I have seen go out
To break their strength and die, they and a few,
In bloody protest for a glorious thing,
They shall be spoken of among their people,
The generations shall remember them,
And call them blessed;
But I will speak their names to my own heart
In the long nights;
The little names that were familiar once
Round my dead hearth.
Lord, thou art hard on mothers:
We suffer in their coming and their going;
And tho' I grudge them not, I weary, weary
Of the long sorrow--And yet I have my joy:
My sons were faithful, and they fought.
~ Padráig H. Pearse
About the photos: I took the photo at top in front of Dublin's General Post Office in 2007 to document the bullet holes from the 1916 Easter Rising. When I took the picture, I did not even see the man in the background. Later, someone pointed out the remarkable and eerie resemblance to Padráig Pearse (second photo), who proclaimed an Irish Republic practically on the same spot where the man in my photo stands.
What is the language of the heart's red blood?
The slosh and drone of the washing
machine could be the sound track
of my wrestling dream last night,
my secret self soaked in her lonely
unconscious waters, agitated between
pain and beauty. What is the place
for me, inside and outside dark caves
of nature, and the long rooms
of strategy, men, and war? And these petty
winds that blow into sleep out of this or that
maternal forest or sacred mountain of love.
They dissolve like sugar in public life. I sit
with a ceramic mug in the pinked dawn,
my tongue tucked in its habitual chip.
Vanilla, coffee, daylight. What is the language
of the heart’s red blood, grown sweeter, or
more bitter, through the tossing, washing,
roast and ferment in fields of sleep?