Ennis will forever be enshrined in my mind,
A small mark on the map from another place and time.
Memories dimmed by many years as though cut with a knife,
First seventeen years of love and laughter in my life.
In a town bowed down by poverty struggling to survive,
Back lanes of half-door houses waiting someone to arrive.
Narrow winding streets full of friends and farmers’ horses,
Pompous priests dressed in black who always walked on water,
And girls in long green dresses that came down below their knees,
Moving past on bicycles; boys waiting for a breeze,
And cows moving slowly herded down towards the water,
Where their blood will fill the Fergus from the houses of slaughter.
And the Christian Brothers School where Brother Brien taught,
No such thing as freedom especially freedom of thought.
We learned everything in Gaelic in the very ancient script,
Letters from the Book of Kells or some ancient warrior’s crypt.
Where are the guys I knew so well; stole by emigration?
Or shied from skirts that only hurt and joined some congregation.
And now the town is filled with cars and strangers wall to wall,
A noisy rush of foreigners in a one-way traffic crawl.
And people don’t have the time to talk or gossip half the day.
They’re in a hurry, got to scurry, got to make their pay.
And traffic lights with tourist types looking out from buses,
This madness of modern times, I wonder ‘bout the pluses.