Invocation – poem in the Irish Times

I was thrilled to have a poem published in the Irish Times Today:

irish times


(after Robert Desnos)

I call on those evicted by John George Adair,

the breaking down of their doors.

I call on soldiers lost in World War 1,

families who buried them under the cover of night.

I call on the children hired out to work like slaves,

families forced to separate at Cobh, the horrors

of the slow ocean-crossing, those sent back on arrival,

those who never left. I call on Cromwell’s victims.

I call on brother slain by brother, their mothers.

I call on the women in the Liberties who

fended off rats from a sleeping mother’s milk.

I call on those who toiled at white linen sheets

after their infants were prised from their arms.

I call on all those who made us what we are.

A Southwest wind howls through tumbled ruins,

medals won in battle bring heat to the touch,

voices echo from the chaos of the G.P.O.

The boards of coffin ships are creaking,

disturbed spirits rise from communal graves.

Brothers re-joined with brothers watch in wonder,

as do the unnamed newborns from Limbo.

The hidden shame of T.B., Strumpet City slums,

workhouses, sanitariums, state institutions,

the noose-scarred necks – they all whisper,

they worry over the right answers, they pray.

Hostel walls who once housed the London-Irish

ask us to remember what they had sorely missed.

Remember, remember, Ná déan dearmad.

Denise Blake’s second collection, How to Spin Without Getting Dizzy, is published by Summer Palace Press. She is a regular contributor to Sunday Miscellany on RTÉ Radio 1