Thursday, March 17, 2011

Poem of the Day: Second Annual St. Patrick's Day Edition

Brief historical background: the Croppies were the rebels during the 1798 Irish Rebellion. Vinegar Hill was the site of a battle in which the Croppies were badly defeated; the dead were thrown in unmarked mass graves.

Requiem for the Croppies

The pockets of our greatcoats full of barley...
No kitchens on the run, no striking camp...
We moved quick and sudden in our own country.
The priest lay behind ditches with the tramp.
A people hardly marching... on the hike...
We found new tactics happening each day:
We'd cut through reins and rider with the pike
And stampede cattle into infantry,
Then retreat through hedges where cavalry must be thrown.
Until... on Vinegar Hill... the final conclave.
Terraced thousands died, shaking scythes at cannon.
The hillside blushed, soaked in our broken wave.
They buried us without shroud or coffin
And in August... the barley grew up out of our grave.

-- Seamus Heaney

Happy St. Patrick's day!

: In case you're curious, here's a link to last year's St. Patrick's Day poem.

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