Soon they’ll be drunk; they’ll drone their rebel songs
or Irish hymns from churches they don’t attend,
all sung in that learnt nasal whinge, that tone
I’ve loathed as long as I’ve stayed in the city,

and started by those who came with nothing,
and quickly learnt how short the promise falls;
coming home from the dock or the red shipyard,
too tired for anything but argument.

Now these men sing their Athenry – its verse
and pitch entrusted with the tongue to sing it,
as if this voice their family silver – each time
passed down more damaged than the time before.

Niall Campbell

If you have any comments on this poem, Niall Campbell would be pleased to hear from you.