An Gorta Mor

Hey everyone A poem written on St Patrick’s Day about the so-called Irish famine. I say so-called famine because as far as I am concerned there was no famine. What happened in Ireland between the years 1845-
1853 was not a famine it was far worse than that, it was cultural genocide a holocaust by any other name. Yes the Brits were at it long before the Nazis they just used more subtle methods like removing a plentiful supply of potatoes from the Irish population to feed the British aristocracy who needed to be fed so they could go and exploit more nations and turn countries in to colonies digging their snouts in the trough of empire as they did so. This poem is a memorial to those who died in those cruel and hungry years and to those who had to start new lives elsewhere the global Irish Diaspora. I’ve titled it An Gorta Mor I hope you find it a challenging and thought provoking read.

An Gorta Mor

We call it An Gorta Mor
the great hunger
though in reality we know
this was murder
too many died
and many more fled
in all 32 counties
people sang of sorrow
for many
tomorrow would never arrive
victims of cultural genocide
a holocaust happened
in Erin’s green isle
a land of songs and smiles
became of a land of tearful goodbyes
as many journeyed to new homes
In nations both near and far away
they travelled
to avoid the grave
the despot attempted
to treat the locals like slaves
they scorned us for being what we are
this is a story of grief beneath the stars
so when I am taunted by the famine song
told to go home
I smile, a gesture of defiance
there are words in my silence
which give them an answer
that chills them to the bone
unlike cruel Britannia
we will never walk alone
we have friends in every land
you can shake your head in despair
It was the actions
of your ancestors
which placed us there
we did not want to go
we were sent in the name of empire
by those with power and privilege
I will never accept the label British
at my father’s funeral
my cousin spoke to me
but not my brother
saying be proud of what you know
and where you come from
you know what I mean
I understood only too clearly
what were meant by his comforting words
I am a child of the Celts
I am descended from no German queen
my line is a line of green
it comes from An Gorta Mor

@ Gayle Smith 2015


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