Thursday, 09 September 2021 13:44

Father Mathew Asks To Be Removed

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Father Mathew Asks To Be Removed

An iconic statue in Cork conceals a dark secret, as Gabriel Rosenstock reveals in a poem in Irish and English.

Father Mathew Asks To Be Removed

by Gabriel Rosenstock

“Servants [recte ‘slaves’] be obedient
to them that are your masters . . .”
Ephesians, VI, 5-7
Take me down,
take me down now,
I’d rather go sooner
than later.
Place me in a Museum
engrave the words
I’M TRULY SORRY
on the plinth.
Let the bells of Shandon repeat it
I’m sorry
and the dark waters of the river Lee
I’m sorry.
I’m sorry I didn’t say sorry
to Frederick Douglass
when I had the chance.
I’m sorry I didn’t say sorry
to myself.
I defended slavery, I’m sorry.
I declared to the slave owners
of the South
be assured, I said,
there’s nothing in the Bible –
nothing, I say –
against slavery, no, Sir.

That was wrong,
I should have said,
‘Jesus came to free all people!’

Take me down,
take me down now:
I’M TRULY SORRY
Let the bells of Shandon repeat it
I’m sorry
and the dark waters of the river Lee
I’m sorry

 

Bain Anuas Mé, a Deir an tAthair Maitiú

“A sheirbhíseacha [recte ‘sclábhaithe’]
bígí umhal ómósach do bhur máistrí . . .”
Eif. VI, 5-7

Bain anuas mé
bain anuas anois mé,
b’fhearr dá n-imeoinn
láithreach, gan mhoill.
Cuir i Músaem mé
agus na focail
TÁ FÍORCHATHÚ ORM
greanta ar an bplionta.
Abraigí im’ dhiaidh é, a chloga an tSeandúin
tá cathú orm
agus a uiscí dorcha abhainn na Laoi
tá cathú orm.
Tá cathú orm nach ndúrt le Frederick Douglass
nuair a bhí deis agam
go raibh cathú orm.
Tá cathú orm nach ndúrt liom féin
go raibh cathú orm.
Dheineas an sclábhaíocht a chosaint, tá cathú orm.
Dúrtsa lom amach é le húinéirí sclábhaithe
an Deiscirt
Féadann sibh a bheith cinnte de, arsa mise
nach bhfuil faic sa Bhíobla –
faic na ngrást, ar m’anam –
in aghaidh na sclábhaíochta, ná an diabhal é.

Bhí sé sin éagórach,
bhí sé de cheart agam a rá,
‘Tháinig Íosa chun gach pobal a shaoradh!’

Bain anuas mé,
bain anuas anois mé:
TÁ FÍORCHATHÚ ORM
Abraigí im’ dhiaidh é, a chloga an tSeandúin
tá cathú orm
agus a uiscí dorcha abhainn na Laoi
tá cathú orm

Gabriel Rosenstock’s latest volume of bilingual poems is Conversations with Li He (Cross-Cultural Communications, New York).
https://www.bookdepository.com/Conversations-with-Li-He/9780893047450

 

Read 377 times Last modified on Thursday, 09 September 2021 13:47
Gabriel Rosenstock

Gabriel Rosenstock was born in postcolonial Ireland and is a poet, haikuist, tankaist, translator, playwright, novelist, short story writer and essayist.