Tag Archive | Genocide

The Day The Phoenix Rises 

This poem draws on the stories of my ancestors who told me about the importance of the phoenix in guarding the laws of Scotland and Ireland and the belief that our countries will finally be free of British rule on the day the phoenix rises. It is for that reason I have given it the title The Day The Phoenix Rises. I hope you enjoy the read. 
The Day The Phoenix Rises

Outsiders

we were scorned on arrival 

in a cold uncaring place 

 locals claimed we were not the same as them 

using language and religion as excuses to label us 

boasting of their achievements

as part of an empire

they were unaware their own culture was scorned 

Scots or Irish a Celt can never be 

reborn as a Brit

when they were told this 

the new order got angry 

they were beyond unhappy

when the Irish community formed a football club 

which would be open to those of  all faiths and none 

when trophies were won we were feared and hated 

the angry brigade felt threatened 

that their fragile identity had been questioned 

there were suggestions we should go home 

as those with blood on their hands

conveniently forgot  it was they 

who did the clearing 

which left us dispossessed 

the victims of cultural genocide

in the Celtic heartlands from which I am descended 

 I’ve always known my blood is the blood of twin tribes 

both of which were marginalised 

the Irish  and the Islanders share 

a history of oppression

with stolen lands taken from the people 

and given to those who would obey colonial orders

without questioning why 

in Culloden and Atherny 

the pain lives on  in the lyrics of our songs

and the hearts of those who know 

the history the oppressers tried to ban 

along with our culture and traditions 

that however was a big mistake to make

in their determination to break us 

they inspired a spirit of resistance

they will not quell 

hell will freeze over before we ever accept 

the label outsiders 

It is not who we are nor will it ever be 

our freedom will come on the day the phoenix rises 

to take us home from the ashes of a ruined estate 

© Gayle Smith 2017 

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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