Back in March of this year, I competed in the National Slam Poetry final which was held in NCAD, Dublin. It was sponsored and judged by members of Poetry Ireland and altogether, it was an incredible experience to see poetry so alive within the youth of today.
Afterwards, I kind of didn’t know what to do with the poem. It’s a performance poem so I thought maybe a video, a recording or a live set would suit it best. But then I remembered I’m a writer not a stand up, more-so anyway.
I was informed yesterday via email that I had made the Longlist for the Irish Blog Awards 2016 (yipee!) so I thought no better way to celebrate than releasing this poem to my very own place, this blog.
I hope you enjoy it, thanks to everyone who has taken an interest in “Cathy In Conversation”.
“A Political Poem”
By Cathy Lee
I don’t write political poetry
But I can
There’s nothing stopping me
Just a bit of research and insight,
Little bit of brain power:
It’s never out of sight,
The power is mine
I don’t swim long-distance,
But I’m sure I could.
A little bit of resilience and resistance.
Give it some time,
Sure didn’t my mother have me swimming since I would walk?
And my legs are still mine
I haven’t painted a masterpiece,
But I could try.
Little bit of focus, my hands and my mind.
Keep the point to the brush and visit the hushed galleries,
We all need a bit of inspiration –
And my hands are mine
I don’t have a PHD
But really, what’s to stop me?
I always did want to reach higher.
I have a brain inside this skull,
and I really should use it to the full
Sure isn’t it mine?
I could use my legs for good,
To flee from this green isle.
Go on a trial, somewhere fresh and new
Not like the Catholic school grounds I knew.
I have a passport, the ability to pack
What’s to stop me never coming back?
I have used my hands for good too
I used my hands to make demands
I put my views down on ballot paper.
I voted for change, I wished and hoped
And saw a slap returned to me.
A national let down,
But as I said, I don’t write political poetry.
I also don’t have abortions
And I can’t
Because the state has rules over my body.
It doesn’t matter what my legs, hands, brain or power can do
This fact remains the same.
say goodbye to a stable government,
say slán to repeal the eight
and hello to a mixed range of politics
of TD’s filled with hate
thanks for letting the progression digress,
cheers for the recession
and the maintenance grant that I didn’t get,
because only one of my parents is in oppression.
Old fiends now friends, those FF’s
I remember the cunning smiles of your devils dressed
The suits and ties, telling the lies
On repeat far and wide
Keep smiling, it’s what you are trained for
Don’t Nama own you all?
Or was it the Treaty of Lisbon,
That fix or “change of mind”
Are we to see the same again,
When the decision makers can’t do just that.
Don’t say you called it,
Don’t go down to Paddy power and try your luck
Can’t make a buck around here anyway,
Have you seen the tax rates?
While we wait in hope
For the coming of the centenary year,
So we can be “different” from our peers
Those Europeans didn’t invent republican revolution,
No sure it was just Irish
Weren’t we told that in school?
The school that has religion compulsory
And demands you’ve had that dash of water tossed over your head before entry,
Are you saying I wasn’t born holy?
Ah let’s then talk about the unborn.
Probably has more rights than me now
The state have a say don’t they?
In Ireland we talk about the weather over tea
Pity the same isn’t done by the rulers of the country.
Choosing to be concerned about a concept
When the time suits.
Climate changes isn’t waiting for us to finish up our economic plan.
Neither are the women traveling to England each day.
But sure time doesn’t exist,
There’ll be another election yet.