Maria Gornell


Irish crossing


Forgotten scrolls from Tara; float amongst drowned Irish

syllables, trapped inside bottles amongst driftwood,

seaweed tightly spun; strangling ancestors cries that

beseeches thee Patrick calling his name out into black seas

to feed the eels and snakes of miracles failed.


Thoughts bubbling to surface – pushing against a powerful force

of dreams submerged out into the wild abandon of waves

crashing with the force of mother nature’s violent fury.


Arthritic knees kneeling against cold stone,

obedient congregations whispering sounds; belly rumblings

holding the dish of coins over flowing, cough it up in black

swirls, take this drink this last supper of burdens wrung out

into the thick green foam of sea.


Scattered in the ashes of potato skin famines – as inland grows

pale in view. You trace the salt tears of rivers hoping to carry us

somewhere better – never no never


wanting to witness pride from shoulders disappear.

As you wrap these river urchins in strong, safe, love.

tiny flickers of lights like shards of glass on a black

horizon, into the Mersey you softly go.


And I have stood long searching amongst empty ports forsaken.

Wondering on the journey, haunted by those fog horns.

imagining slave ships, the cracks of whip that hold no connections

to your heart except the immigrant rivers that carried you to

‘no rooms for the Irish’ dirty grey back street slums,

gangs that got you drunk then robbed you

of half shillings, left drunken stupor in streets

that did not know your name.


The children you reared who turned their backs on roots,

the religion that saved you into categories of saints, sinners

and heathens. Its not hard to imagine what may have been

if the filthy English greed had not appeared on your horizons.

A shamrock mistaken for a four leaf clover floats on the breeze

with secrets to tell.



Maria Gornell © 2011