For Those Lives Blighted

Once, in Ireland one million died
and we’re still counting.
One million fled
for their lives
and we’re still counting.
Equivalent to the population
of Gaza
the avalanche
of violence
spread so thickly
it destroyed all
in its paths.
And its paths were everywhere,
rubble strewn deep as an Irish bog.
And before
the aftermath
when starvation ruled the land.

Starvation had ruled the land in Ireland
when the potato crop was blighted.
Without potatoes there was no food.
Without potatoes there was no money for food.
Without money for rent colonial landlords evicted,
and slave labour of starving men women and children
followed the rule of law
through occupation
and colonisation.

And no help came.
No Aid came
to help them.
And still
potatoes were exported.
And still
the landlords did well.
All the colonialists did well.
They always do.

So Ireland knows how it feels
in the depth of its turf,
in the depth of its being,
its rock, its stones,
its body filled bogs,
its bleached bones
it knows the story
knows that
change comes
with survival
survival first
then to change
one step at a time.

And sometimes
words and money
can effect change
as readily as weapons,
that time the past shows
it’s the time to make a stand
against more political the manoeuvring
to undermine another respected decision
un-welcomed again by the most powerful.

And history shows its time.
For Ireland knows
how lives are blighted.

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud "War Poetry for Today" competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a Rhysling Award. You can find Lynn at and Read other articles by Lynn, or visit Lynn's website.