O Bruadair’s, calloused not from quill,
For spade and hoe had marked them first;
O Raithaille’s, that had to till
The rocks to fight off hunger, thirst;
And Mangan’s bruised and sallow palms
That harvested in fields each fall,
And Raifteiri’s that begged for alms.
Benighted Ireland scorned them all
And let them skulk in bogs and moors,
Those founders of a nation’s verse.
May whey-faced lads with manicures
Escape those poets’ ancient curse,
Who harvest songs for lesser men
And do their digging with a pen.
- T.S. Kerrigan recently retired from the law after a convincing victory in the United States Supreme Court and serving as the President of the Irish-American Bar Association. He is an accomplished poet and playwright and is a former theater critic and longtime member of The Los Angeles Drama Critic's Circle. His plays “Branches Among the Stars” (concerning the youth of James Joyce) was presented at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, and “A Thorn in the Heart,” a treatment of incest in Ireland was presented successfully at the Globe Playhouse. His poetry has been in too many journals in England, Ireland and America to list here. Former Poet Laureate Richard Wilbur described his poetry as “full of life, authority, playfulness, and good rhythms. Renowned poet X.J. Kennedy, former Poetry Editor of Paris Review, has hailed his work as a “rich and vivid collection admirable for the verve of its language-handling.” His poetry is included in many anthologies including Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems (Viking-Penguin 2002), Off the Record (U. of West Virginia 2004), In the West of Ireland (Lisselton, County Kerry 1992), and several others. His latest book, My Dark People was published in April 2008.