According to a Dublin Taxi Driver, the British called the Irish,
‘Wild Geese’ and chased them into the swamp, hunting them
not as the enemy but for sport. Dublin, Ireland 2019
This place of knowing raises
the ghosts of soldier and revolutionary ―
recalls the sluggish tidewater,
ebbing among the reeds ―
the dampness of the fall wind.
I come to the street end
of this excavated cross ― thirty feet
across the top ― twenty feet at its base.
A cross-shaped Koi pond
lies in the middle of its floor.
No soldiers are buried
in this memorial, but swords
are fixed in the bottom of the pool.
Rain soaks my shoes, and my bones
drum a slow march as I descend
the stairs. Passing between
the benches and the water’s edge,
How does the spirit of wrath
becomes the spirit of blessing?
At the head of the cross,
I pause near the flight of steps.
As I climb the stairs, mist drifts
over the two bronze geese,
struggling to lift a pair of rebels,
executed in the marsh.
The British called the Irish
Wild Geese and chased them
into the swamp, hunting them
not as the enemy but for sport.
Standing at the head of the cross ―
the spot usually occupied by
the sorrowful face of Christ ―
I ask, Were the Irish rebels innocent?
When the hand of war rose like a fist,
they could not turn it aside.