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THE IRISH DRESSER. Poem  RSH.
23.1.24

I stand in a room
With others.
Some I know.
Some I don't know.

The dresser stands
Beyond the light.
Its presence amongst us
Hides secrets.
Some we could agree on
Yet others we don't even know of.

Who carved and assembled 
This dresser?
Who made the drawers and recesses
The dark corners and who
Picked the wood?

There are objects on the dresser.
Cracked plates and broken glass
Connected to a past we cannot fathom.
So old, so ancient
That the very bog oak
Would have to stand up and speak
Out loud, traumatised and damaged
Savaged and soiled
By the things that would make
Any sane person recoil
From the kind of things
That passes here for conversation.

A broken nation once again.
As damaged as those plates.
Cracked dogmas, religious reasonings
Like seasoning on our raw skin.

Who wants to win control
Of these drawers and dark corners
In a United Ireland?

How will it be
Amongst winners and losers?
Outsiders and those inside
The Dresser.

Can Ireland see past
Her complacent need
For three colours in a flag
That cannot hope to represent
Everyone on the island?

Can she look into her own
Hatred for others and a blind
Acceptance
For a sectarian theocracy
Beyond the 1920s Civil War?

As a woman how can Ireland
Salve the needs of an outsider like me
Or at least those she has branded
As outsiders these past
Four hundred years?
Will we take a look
Within the dresser
And learn her secrets
Read her papers
And test the blood
From boycotts, clearances
Murders and attacks upon
The big house?

There is so much to find
In this old furniture
Standing like an abused child.
Interfered with amongst
Shadowy moments.

Are we able for this?
If we are at that point
Of departure, traveling
Into unity
Can we do so with generosity
and love?
Or do we want to merely publish
Another chapter of the same old book?
To hell with the Doves?

By Randall Stephen Hall
www.randallstephenhallsongs.com