Marshlanders of the World,
Asylum seekers from the Wars,
Boatpeople with seawater and the nation’s welcome port;
Sturdy, hardy, chattering
City of the Big Stories:
They tell me you are desperate, and I believe them, for I see your bloodshot eyes plead for sleep and peace from death.
And they tell me you are starving, and I believe them, for I hear your children howl for a bowl of rice, a tablespoon of porridge, even a saucer of tripe and drisheen.
And they tell me you are dying from thirst for friendship, for an arm outstretched ready to pull you ashore and wrap you in swaddling clothes.
And having scraped together, I stand against the crowd that scoffs at this my city, as if they offer a better bed to beggars:
show me the city of your dreams with choirs singing Hallaluia at the docks proud to hug strangers with fire in their eyes,
flinching from complaints, yet carrying on the twisty fight against the lethargy of liars, the hard-of-hearing heads that resist irresistible grace;
cute as a hoor those occupiers of property that lockout migrants from hell, stitched together with courage fit for humanity
planning, restructuring, re-building
Under the fog, tears dribbling on cheeks, smiling with dimples,
Proud to be making history smile to children of the street,
Smiling loud through blackthorn and brambles, out into lanes and alleyways
Laughing with the laugh of the Lough and the Island and the Well where sparrows nest
Clasping travellers, boldly, loud in honour of half-dead strangers found abroad,
Proud Marshlanders, a safe harbour for ships, a market safe for the whole world, heart-makers, soul-shifters.
A City of Sanctuary.
Invitation to launch of Cork City of Sanctuary Strategic Action Plan on March 29th 2019