Who Are We Now?

by Catherine Whitehead

We are a nation that holds its head up high,
players on the international stage,
honoured in all disciplines.
W.B. a driving force for cultural independence,
Kavanagh, McGahern, Heaney and Ní Domhnaill,
O’Brian, Banville and Tobin,
Boland, Donohue and Binchy,
Le Brocquy, Cross and Scully,
Bono, Enya and Sinéad,
Roach, Harrington and Taylor,
and a rollcall of names across the arts and sciences.
Thirty-five years of Gaybo breaking down taboos,
we learned how to talk, and we learned how to listen.
We have had two Marys in the Áras now,
though a small country, Ireland is respected by all.
The Good Friday Agreement brought long-awaited peace.
Heroes on all sides; John and Patricia Hume, my personal favourites.
A hundred years is long time.
We have come a long way.
Some thing about us have been lost, some renewed and some discovered.
Would the people of the revolution like us, be proud of us
as we are of them? I hope so…I think so.

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in a Poetry as Commemoration workshop held at Sligo County Library in October 2023.  The workshop was led by writer Terry McDonagh.