Here’s a poem Cougrrr (Martha) wrote for St.Paddy’s Day

Was it my great grandpa?
Or my great-great grandpa
that sailed here from that
wet, green land,
fleeing bad potatoes and pitiless rich men,
man-made catastrophe.
Planted all one variety, against common sense,
oh but they were tasty,
until the black rot came.
And millions died.

So he set forth,
that great or great-great young man.
To a country where, shortly,
Irish Need Not Apply.
To South Dakota
the wild prarie land.
To a life free, at least,
of the bloody bastards that
killed so many of his own.

A photograph of
solemn children in Sunday best,
arranged by size from tallest
to smallest.
Grandpa somewhere in the middle.
Another picture,
Grandpa and I.
Both bald and smiling
at one another,
we look alike.
Exactly alike.

The Clancy brothers sang
throughout my childhood.
I sang with them,
learning every word of angry rebel songs
and sweet sweet love songs.
I was ashamed to be an American,
it was the ’60’s ya know.
So it was Up the Irish and
up the IRA too,

Cuchullain and Boadaicea my heroes.
Seeking connection,
a sense of national pride,
I became a sympathizer
with those who blew up
men, women and children.
They had a right after all,
freedom fighters for a
just cause.
Revenge, perhaps,
for outright genocide.

The paper today
said its been 150 years
since the time of the potato blight
and empty stomachs.
Starvation first, then
typhoid and cholera.
Bodies too weak to resist.
And millions died.
The grain the could have
fed them,
the grain  grown by them,
shipped to England.
While they died.

Millions more fled
to Canada and America.
Human ballast for
timber ships,
returning to clear-cut more forests
that did not belong to them.
Raping a new frontier,
not content with having just raped
a small green island.
Seven weeks it took,
locked below with
dead and dying.
So crowded that children
shared beds with their dead
brothers and sisters.

My great or great-great granda
came this way
Was he born on the ship?
I dont recall the story exactly.
It must have been a
nightmare upon nightmare.

I hope that the clean, clear
Dakota air,
the prarie hills and wildflowers,
the call of a hawk
soaring high above,
cleansed his mind.
Of his black dreams
of the black rot,
the black hold.
And that a warm
black Badlands night,
pierced with a million stars
for a million dead,
held him close.