Sunday, March 17, 2013

On the Road to Sligo

I spent three weeks in Ireland in August and September of 1970, between graduating from college and beginning my work life. I hitchhiked around Ireland.
Here I am, on Cottage Island, outside the town of Sligo:
excuse the blurry photo, taken with an old Kodak Instamatic.

I wrote many poems while I was in Ireland. Here is a song I wrote, about my grandmother, Margaret Slavin Higgins. She was actually from Letterkenny in County Donegal, but I took some poetic license:

On the Road to Sligo

From September, from the States,
from the car-rich rushing land
I  have come to find my sould
in the mud brown quiet town
my people left so long ago
on the road to Sligo.

Margaret was a winsome girl,
bitter in her jobless land.
Until the day she packer her bags,
boarded ship and looked away
and gladly saw the coastline go,
and the road to Sligo.

Margaret worked in rich men's homes,
servant in the job rich land,
met a man, potato poor,
built a farm and family
and told their children of the woe
of the road to Sligo.

Here within late summer mist,
lakes and Yeats in eyes and heart,
dollars bending in my purse,
orphan in the house of peace,
stranger, native , I will go
on the road to Sligo.

When I get to Sligo town,
Where the music lilts the wind,
People live in slow green fields
breathing clean, and so I ask:
why did Margaret ever go
from the road to Sligo?

People still are fighting here
long past wars still sore and torn,
potato poor or highway rich.
Restless hearts that fear the storm
flee to stay, and flee to go
on the road to Sligo.

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