The Islander

Chapter One

He could have been on Sherkin, Inishbofin, Skelligs or even Rathlin…

He was an outlaw, cast away from the land,

away from his people.

His face didn’t fit,

his family were not from the right side of town.

There was no time for him, he could rot there.

Eventually his spirit would break,

he would comply, he would conform,

he would be broken

It would teach them,

show them not to meddle with our family,

not to get above themselves.

Yea, twenty-seven winters on Sherkin,

twenty-seven springs on the Skelligs

twenty-seven summers on Rathlin

twenty-seven years of nightmares

on any island you fancy.

It was good to keep him there, disappeared.

Our family had need of safety,

his family were dangerous,

thugs, revolutionaries, communists, rapists.

oh yea, uncouth, uncivilised, Untermenschen.


Chapter Two

Our family is special,

we have survived our own wars.

We’re used to feeling superior

Our family before all families

our tribe before all tribes

Our village the white man’s burden

Everyman is an island

We have not balked at blood sacrifice

We have buried our enemies in unmarked graves

– even displayed corpses to teach families how to behave themselves

We survived war against an Empire of superior force – that gave us backbone.

That gave us good enough reason to turn the tables on families of inferior beings.

Oh yes, our family is special – forever.


Chapter Three

You will not leave that island

You will languish in your dreams

You will scratch your balls

You will scrape the fleas in your hair

You will freeze your bollocks off.

We will control you.

When we let you out – it will be to die.

Our family is ordained to carry the burden of ruling this land.

Yes, your family is bigger than our family

Your family’s so big it’s disgusting.

Your people are everywhere

but your people are worthless

we’ve made sure of that.

The sea the sea the sea

the waves the wind, the ocean, the cold

the fish the seaweed the waves the wind the cold the ocean

the seaweed the waves the wind the cold the ocean the seaweed

Eat your heart out Islandman – we have you.

Oh yes, we’ve had you now for 27 years.

How did you pull through?


Chapter 4

Are you coming off that island?

Are you coming to take our land?

to obliterate us?

to wipe us out?

coming to leave a bloodbath?

Are you going to leave the island

like an avenging angel

– the Assyrian descending on the fold?

Going to be the Inquisition?

Going to be ethnically cleansing us?

Are you going to force our children to leave?

split up all that we’ve created among so many

and leave everybody with hardly anything?

Who are you?

who are you after?

who are you after festering anger resentment?

You must be a walking bomb

walking terrorist

you must be a killer of all of our dreams.

I see you now,

we see you now,

step ashore


Chapter 5

I must say you look rather good after twenty-seven years.

If I’d been there for twenty-seven years

I probably wouldn’t have stood up as well as you look

maybe your family has some kind of metal in your DNA?

maybe you’re just bloody tough?

Who are you Islander?

Who are you warrior?

What’s in your mind?

What’s in that heart?

Why should we trust you?

–  the only thing we can trust is our own fear.

Yes, we’re outnumbered

Yes, your family is bitter.

What are those words forming in your mouth?

What’s that look in your eye?

What’s that breath from your nostril?

You’re walking towards us,

Are you coming to wipe us out?

Now that your time has come

Now that every other bastard has abandoned our family

and left us alone

left us isolated

left us rejected

Yea, we were at the forefront of fighting for what we believed in,

for what we thought others believed in.

Yes we were the top dogs once,


we’re lepers

spat on


no one from my family can get married into any other family.

And you will inherit the earth.

I expect you’ll get revenge now

You’re coming

You’re coming across

You’re coming ashore

You’re coming inland.

What’s that you hold in your hand?

What are you doing with your hands?

Towards whom are you


You don’t mean to offer me a hand

You cannot mean to stretch out a hand.

It’s a trick.

You want to persuade me you are a friend

come from twenty-seven years

on that,

on Sherkin, on Boffin, on Skelligs

You want me to believe that’s is a genuine hand?

As soon as you grip my hand

you’ll pull me under

you’ll squash me to death.

I know,

that’s what I’d do

if I was in your position.

You want my hand.

your hand is warm

your eye is warm

you are forming words

you are looking over my shoulder

beyond where i stand

you are looking beyond my family.

You have brought a flag with you

a towel,

a canopy

a rug

something that will go over everybody.

You expect me to join you

You expect me to work with you

You expect me not to run and hide

You expect me to accept you

You expect me to be your partner

And you will not take everything from me?

You will leave me with my money intact?

You will leave me with my capital acquired?

You will leave me with some shred of self-respect?


it feels like you’re offering me a route to Salvation

Where the hell have you come from?

Where the hell did you become like this?

You stretch out a hand of friendship

a hand of warmth,

a hand of the future

You restrain your family from eating me alive

You prefer us to be together than have us all go down.

You are serious?


What kind of a resurrection is this?

What stones have you rolled back?

What cave have you come from?

What sort of Heaven on earth are you trying to create?

When you were on that island,

and I was on the mainland,

you were a small guy.

You were locked up in a place

where i didn’t have to see your eyes

where I didn’t have to feel your hand.

But now I cannot avoid you

I cannot ignore you

I cannot step away from you.

That island:

Sherkin, Inishbofin, Skelligs, Aran,  Saltees, Lambay, Rathlin…

– they’re all our islands.

We’ve always used islands to lock inferior beings away out of sight.

Now those islands have turned everything inside out,

turned everything on its head.

I don’t know what to say

I don’t know where to look

I’ve embarrassed by your strength,

by your courage

by your power.

And you know what the worst thing is?

You’re so bloody humble

You are so bloody humble

You offer warmth, friendship

You offer togetherness

You offer hope

You offer a future,

My children – they don’t have to die

My children – they don’t have to run

Our children can play together.

Where have you come from?

What happened to you

on that island?

Is there any chance I can do twenty-seven years on that same island?


Chapter 6

The Unknown Unknown…

We are all the creators

all families creators

all individuals creators

Any chance we can all do twenty-seven years on the island?

The end of the beginning.

Published by

Paul O'Mahony

I'm Paul O'Mahony (Poet). On Twitter you can reach me @Omaniblog A father. I work as business storytelling consultant - Podcaster - Blogger - Live streamer via Periscope - Foodie - I love to connect with people. . Live in Glanmire, Cork Ireland Europe

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