An Irish Prayer


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An Irish Prayer
After Charles Cotton’s 17th Century Poem “The Litany”


From soft-bodied, suited snails who smile
and slither through shining corridors,
through the slick paw of justice,
through the smudged subtext
of the daily papers, through
the precious pennies of our savings accounts –
from their slippery, silvery trail
Deliver us.
From the public Punch and Judy show
starring Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael
and only You, God, know what role Labour plays
(but we can imagine them all backstage
after the shouting’s done for the day,
cosying up for pints for which we’ve paid)
but please Deliver us.
From the couches of our apathy, from
our conditioned inferiority, from
our muttering religiosity, from
our slack-jawed gullibility, from
our yawning inequality, from
our paralysing futility, from
our grotesque lack of accountability –
Deliver our country, Lord
Deliver us!
Sarah O’Toole hails from the West of Ireland and works as a theatre practitioner and lecturer. She was the winner of the Aran Islands/Hillstead poetry competition in 1997 and travelled to Connecticut to read at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival with other emerging poets from both sides of the Atlantic. After that, she was side-tracked for a number of years by all things theatrical. Last year, her poetry was published in the Spring and Summer issues of Emerge Literary Journal. She has also written two plays which have been performed in Ireland.

Image taken from a video posted on of a male Fine Gael TD grabbing a female colleague and pulling her on to his knee.

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2 Responses

  1. Wally

    July 12, 2013 12:51 am

    It it has mock-prayer rhythm, it has assonance, it has alliteration – and it has political bite. Keep going with poetic innovation of this kind please.