Last Rites





Last Rites

a poem for Richard O’Prey

The rocky wastes of Connemara

Possess a beauty all their own,

Treeless expanses with whispering grass,

random heaps of scattered stones.


When my lungs have ceased to breathe

And my body returned to dust,

Spread my ashes in Connemara

After the day has turned to dusk,


And when the dusk has turned to night,

Look up at the myriads overhead;

Then seek the warmth of a convivial pub

And raise your cup to the countless dead.

2 thoughts on “Last Rites

  1. We loved Connemara. But, “It’s no surprise that deforestation occurred. Part of the blame goes to the English monarchs who confiscated and cleared large swaths of land, only to award plantations to newly arrived English and Scottish settlers. Part of the blame lies with the then-burgeoning industries of shipbuilding, barrel-making, iron production, and glassworks, all devouring trees greedily and hungrily.

    “Part of the blame rests with the Irish themselves, although their motives were more innocent. They just wanted to feed their children, and with the island’s population growing fourfold between 1700 and 1840, they had little choice but to topple trees and plant additional fields. No matter what really prompted the deforestation — colonialism, capitalism, desperation, or a combination of all three — the trees disappeared, cut down for near-sighted decisions that would change the face of the island for centuries.“

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