The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

The Famine Season

On the 25th anniversary of the hunger strike

Poetry

Russell Streur • 15 April 2006

THE FIDDLER'S TUNE

O fiddle high
O fiddle low
O fiddle a tune, Fiddler
Where the emerald children play

Fiddle all day
Fiddle all night
Fiddle a tune, Fiddler
We gather round another Irish grave

Give a verse to the brides
And one for all the widows too
Fiddle a tune Fiddler
The wind of hunger blows

O fiddle on the morning lanes
O fiddle on the evening roads
But do not fiddle, Fiddler
Where the thatcher's daughter goes.

BOBBY SANDS
May 5, 1981

My blessing on you
The black flags
The gasoline bombs
And the keening bagpipes
On Belfast streets

We bury the wind
In the slums tonight
With the Easter bracken
The falcon of the moor
And the salmon in the sea

Red is the color
English guns will paint
They're killing Irish saints
On Bogside roads again
For the wearing of the green

The iron maiden Death
Has bought the body of Bobby Sands
Comes again a hungry time
The banshee cries
Comes the famine season now.

FRANCIS HUGHES
May 12, 1981

The ships at sea
Sail upon the clouds
The sky is joined with sun

The wind is from the west
There is music by the river bend
The holy wells are full

Love is made of flesh
And truth of light
But in the meadow where the blackbirds flock

On branches bare of mirth or harp
The darkness falls in shadow even worse than grief
And Death and Death alone

Is King, and King of All.

RAYMOND McCREESH
May 21, 1981

Summer has come
The trees and grass are green
Daffodils and bullets bloom

The nights are warm
Lovers stroll on Castle Road
And kiss beneath the sniper's moon

Beneath the bridges
River mist and mother's milk
Curdle into gasoline

Summer has come
The potatoes rot
And marigolds

Spill the lark and raven's blood.

PATRICK O'HARA
May 21, 1981

The fairies sing and dance
Around the mushroom ring,
Bless the peasants and the king

Catch them quick
In the corner of your eye
Between the swans of Duncan and the sky

They'll sell your only son
For pennies to the gypsies in the glen
Who'll never let him eat again

Watch your step while walking by
Thatcher's Bog alone tonight
Waiting there are thirsty trolls

Waiting for another saint to die.

JOE McDONNELL
July 8, 1981

No breakers drum the keen
Against the voiceless shore
No mother soothes the night
With garden lullabies

No bagpipes answer
When the church bell rings
No falcon takes to flight
Above the barren moors

For the song the silence sings
Upon the angel's head
And the name the echo cries
Into the island tomb

Is Death
And Death again
And Death complete
And Death has filled another bed.

THE THIRSTING QUEEN

Across the water
The rocks and flowers bleed
And bleed again
And bleed once more

Across the water
The thirsting queen
Fills her cup with tea
And drinks again

She will drink until
The blood of saints
Has soiled every bed
And turned to red
Every lea and all

She will thirst and thirst
And be thirsty still
Till every Jesus hangs from every holy tree
And all the wild dogs that gather near
Are gorged on sacred meat.

MARTIN HURSON
July 13, 1981

Quiet is the eye of sea
And quiet is the light
That breaks upon the ebbing tide

The tongue of day
Is twisted 'round
The clay that death has fed

Upon the ocean edge
A serb and evil root
Has climbed the hill of sun

No lark in heaven
Dares to speak
The ancient word of words

And quiet is the dawn
That breaks upon
The stilling wood

And empty is the morning bed.

KIERAN DOHERTY
August 2, 1981

I saw Kieran dance tonight
A raven in his hand

I saw Kieran dance tonight
On the top of the hill
Then down the slope
And past the swamp
Tone's white wolf close by his side

I saw the driftwood on the shore
Split apart the heart of night
I saw the oaken egg of dawn
Spill between the legs
Of the widow of the sun

I saw Kieran dance tonight
The hungry one who hungers still.

KEVIN LYNCH
August 1, 1981

O fiddle a tune, Fiddler
The lane is dark
And the crossroad
Comes too soon

O fiddle a tune, Fiddler
A lively march
For the quick and dead
And the rising of the moon

Play it loud, Fiddler
For the long sea grass
And the widows of
The May of Plague to hear

Pluck a string and play your best
Give a song to light the way
It's Kevin by the given dun
Tonight we lay to rest.

TOM McILWEE
August 8, 1981

Light no candle
In Mary's withered crob
Old Lady do not spend
Your pennies on the priests

Peter's Gate is welded shut
The candles gutter out
Throw away your rosary
And save your breath

The ransomed son
Has draped in black
The Throne of Light
One by one the angels all

Have starved to death.

MICHAEL DEVINE
August 20, 1981

Cry
Our Lady of the Tomb
The horse of death
Has passed unseen
Beneath the ruins on the cliff

The hold of night
Has spelled the heron's name
And claimed the rose
Between the forest edge and dune

Cry
Our Lady of the Tomb
The shadows and the hoofbeats
Lead once more
To the far and darker isle

Where the banshee marks
The coffin pine
And the face within
The rising moon.

THE WINTER COMES

Leave the prayers undone
The loaf of bread uncut
The holy hymns unsung

Leave the lamps unlit
The leg of lamb uncarved
The minstrel songs unheard

The Lord of Darkness
Has claimed the meadow and the cairn
And raised his voice
Above the chill of doom and dust

Now the winter comes
Death everlasting
And the night without end,
Amen.



 

 


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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



 

 

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Index: Current Articles



16 May 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

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Former Blanketman Speaks Out Against ‘Vitriolic Attack’
Richard O'Rawe

"What Future for Republicans?"
Public Meeting Announcement

An Open Letter to Gerry Adams and the IRA's Chief of Staff of the Army Council
Dr John Coulter

Paper Over the Cracks
John Kennedy

The Famine Season
Russell Streur

DUP Pressure Cooker: About to Blow?
Dr John Coulter

Oil Prices
John Kennedy

Profile: Ibn Warraq
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The Muslims America Loves
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Freedom of Speech index


11 May 2006

The Incorruptible
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Can of Worms
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The Wrong Man
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Gotta Be Cruel to be Kind
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Revising the Rising?
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Solving the Irish Problem
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Eviction
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Thank You, Bobby Sands
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Give Them That Auld Tyme Religion
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Examples of Dialogue
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Peter King - Still Irish America's Champion
Patrick Hurley

Statements on the Murder of Michael McIlveen
RSF; 32 County Sovereignty Movement

Profile: Chahla Chafiq
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Freedom of Speech index

 

 

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