Part 2
by Jeffrey Murrell

When Irish eyes are smiling
At me, warm through loving haze,
I cease to exist for the moment,
Anywhere but in their gaze.
And when Irish hands are kneading
My hands in under-table shade,
I cease all other cravings,
But for the fair on the table laid
Celebrating those lovely eyes and hands,
And those of others, like her, related,
Mother, father, aunt and brother,
All their Celtic attention paid
To the corned beef brisket with mustard sauce,
Cabbage, potatoes and carrots tossed
So colorfully on wide warm platters;
With the sweetest soda bread ever to melt in one's mouth,
And glasses topped off with bubbly wine,
As plentiful as all the tears
Shed from all the Irish eyes
Through all their tragic years.

The brisket sliced, the platters passed,
The glasses emptied, filled again and again,
Her tender voice sparkled amongst the others,
Like the pretty candles which glimmered before us,
Some also gentle, but her father's a little harsher,
Hidden beneath veils of politeness and camaraderie,
For the humble occasion in their modest home,
The intent of which is to disguise what's real
In order to create each year at least one moment
Where there is harmony, goodness and peace.
And the effect did not go unappreciated,
Though it did get revealed
In little after-dinner confidences
Shared only between her and I
Like our shifting passion,
Nourishing our lives.

Her history is like that of their ancient homeland;
And it echoes mine so strangely similar,
So strangely unsatisfyingly familiar,
Nearly devoid of objective love and caring,
Though I sense those things were in fact there
For both of us, to a certain extent,
To a certain, limited, hollow extent,
Yet, for all practical purposes, invisible,
Rendered utterly transparent by the repression,
The brutal infliction of others' obsessions
To quash their guilt by conquering the meek
Beneath their patriarchal feet,
The church and others presumed to be friends
Only serving as conduits of the oppression
Of our personal and spiritual growth,
Of our self-esteem, independent will and worth.
"Luck O' the Irish" would seem such a misnomer
If not for abilities like mine and hers
To overcome such adverse powers.