As the son of Irish immigrants, the poet, writer, and musician Terence Patrick Winch has been part of Irish-American cultural life, with his work sometimes taking its subject matter from his upbringing in a Bronx immigrant neighborhood. Here, he shares some of the words and traditions of that cultural life.
P R A Y E R T O S T. P A T R I C K
by T. Patrick Winch ©
St. Patrick, snake-hating Brit, forgive
us our sins, our wins, our losses,
forgive us our employees and bosses,
forgive us those stupid four-leaf clovers
that idiots confuse with the Holy Trinity-signifying
shamrock, especially around this time of year.
Forgive us green beer, Hostess cupcakes with green
icing, forgive us the moronic greening
of hair, food, water. Forgive us the total
lack of meaning that now attaches to your name.
It is all truly unseemly and insane.
Grant us a moratorium on any more news of
the triumphs of Michael Flatley or Frank McCourt.
God bless Paddy’s pig and Paddy Moloney’s wig,
Mickey and Andy Rooney, Rosemary and George Clooney.
Requiescat in pace, Versace et Liberace.
In nomine Dei, we’ve had enough of Leahy.
Dear saint of our isle, we’d like to send ya
an urgent plea to abolish Enya.
Let the bar owners pay
the poor musicians
a small fortune.
They’re earning it.
Banish misfortune for the Irish
over here and the Irish over there.
Banish “Danny Boy” and “The Unicorn”
while you’re at it.
Let there be an Irish-American fin de siècle
starring Mark McGwire and Margaret Heckler.
Grant another eighty-seven years to my Auntie Nora
and let history smile upon the Irish Diaspora.
Let the music be on the mark.
Lead the fiddle players from the dark
of orthodoxy. Oremus for my brother Seamus.
Let a thousand poems and songs
end the battles and undo the wrongs.
[This poem first appeared in Irish Music magazine (March 2000) and later in my book, Boy Drinkers.]Tags:Booknotes, Terrence Patrick Winch