Poem: I’m Not Irish       

Shankill Road, Belfast, during the Troubles. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

My bones, my genes, my blood aren’t Irish.

They’re rooted in the fields, towns and ghettoes

Of Central Europe.

They‘re called German, Swiss, Polish, Ashkenazi Jew.


But there’s a sliver of my ancestry from the British Isles.

That’s where my soul comes from

The lyrical language, drama and poetics

Of my certain Irish ancestors….

May they be called Yeats, O’Casey, Joyce, Wilde, Beckett or Heaney

Who wrote of love, war, death and the human spirit.


My Irish is in politics too.

The separation of the Irish into two parts,

And the decades of the Troubles

That divide Northern Ireland

With bombs, guns, touts and hunger strikes

All because of two religions at war

For centuries.

That religious war only interests me

Because of the signs, banners and the shadow of a gunman.


I’ll take no religion, thank you,

But if I was Irish, I’d be IRA,

Not Unionist, RUC or UDA.

The Troubles were only the latest

In the forever war for independence

By Ireland from its brutal English overlords.


No, I’m not Irish except for that 3 percent sliver of my genetic heritage

But my heart and soul are drawn and quartered

By the poetry and politics of both my Irelands.


NOTE: Just trying out a poem from a planned new collection for 2022. Hope you find it interesting. 

5 Comments on “Poem: I’m Not Irish       ”

  1. Melinda Longford Power says:

    I am Irish (middle name Longford, after County Longford, last name Power) and I love the poem and I share your sentiments 100%

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marianne Lindwedel, formerly Denk-Helmold says:

    Hi again, dear Nancy,

    It is an interesting topic with the ancestors. As a kid I was not interested at all, but a time comes when you want to know more about where you came from etc. As many of my friends I found out some things about the family. My kids for example had a Roma (formerly called gipsy) great grandmother (grandmother of my first husband who did never tell me). We only found out after his death. Now we understand better why this part of the family (Trousil/Kollert)in the now Czech Republic were insisting on impeccable manners and did not like the self assured way my boys acted. One of the cousins of my first mother in law was sent to concentration camp and never returned.
    On my side there is an Irish greatgrandmother who came to Bremen by boat as refugee with her father after the entire rest of the family fell victim to the Irish famine around 1850. They both worked on farms in Northern Germany and the girl, Hannah Kirk, eventually married a farmer‘s son. She was a great singer and her only child, a son, got a college scholarship to become a music teacher. He was over ninety and still plaid the Cello when his last grandchild, my mother, graduated in 1946. Only a couple yrs later I was born.
    I instantly loved Ireland after I traveled there in the early 80s and only after three or four visits and a lot of talking about the land, the beauty, the silence and the music etc my mother told me the story of this part of the family. I finally understand why I have freckles and very white skin. We are now planning on spending at least a couple of months next yr there. Covid could be finished by then. If not, no more Ireland…


  3. […] A companion to my earlier poem, “I’m Not Irish.”                                                                     […]


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