Take the Boat

Throughout time, people have always travelled. Some for pleasure and leisure, but others because circumstances forced them to leave their homes. This is a poem for and about these travellers.



Take the Boat
Gary Brown reads his poem about leaving Dublin and crossing the Irish Sea in the ferry to Holyhead. ~ Creator: Ports, Past and Present ~ Date: August 2021
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Gary Brown's poem is an elegy for all the people who took the boat out of Dublin and crossed the Irish Sea for various reasons. Some of them left their homes, never to return; others did, but in altered circumstances. This poem speaks of hope and heartbreak, of people old and young, burdened by others with guilt and shame. But it is also a loving recognition that even though they had to leave Ireland due to various circumstances, Ireland never altogether left them.

Take The Boat

Leaving the bay of my lovers outstretched arms
Propelled purposefully and speedily as if from a
Slingshot set between Poolbegs redundant yet
Robust towers,
Loosening the hold of her horseshoe magnetic field
Of feelings foibles and futility for go I must, like
Myriads and masses of others moving in hope,
The hold of loves embrace will always be broken to
Better and build lives for us all so take the boat
You must, to seek engagement and employment
And emancipation from the swirling cassocks of
A very catholic guilt.

Sensing the rumbling rotating revolutions of engines
Below surging up through the hulking force beneath,
Rising up through you as you move towards whatever
Destiny deems to be yours, as you look back at your
Harbour of doubts and dutiful obedience to croziers
And crosses, breaking away breaking away breaking.
Gliding giddily cutting a swathe of foam through
Dull darkened waters,
Forging and forcing ahead away from home, yours
Hers, theirs, daring to glance back at a life lived in
Localities familiar enough yet fading away now,
Two bus journeys from home then, but now they
Seem close but lost, Bray, Killiney, Dalkey, places
Visited now disappearing dismally as if in a black
And white showreel of summers past,
No anger only angst reflecting in the water on
What might have been if home had been another

Ringsend’s realism and the grittiness of Iodine Park
Etched in your mind your soul your knees and knuckles,
East Wall and the slob lands of Baile Bocht bringing back
To earth your base reasons for this voyage of discovery,
Unemployment lines of dull desperation determines your fate,
A far away faith denying freedom to fearful feminists young
But brave enough and scared enough to take this boat to
Furtive surreptitious places and practice’s seeking a
Way to end something before it begins to take hold
Of lives unprepared and resourceful enough to provide.

Pulling away game fully now towards open seas, seaward,
Belting and breaking freewheeling further and further
Holding up a long distance mirror of mature memories
Raheny, Sutton, Baldoyle and Binn Eadair speeding now
Almost skipping past The Kish the beckoning beacon
Of hope in hostile defiance of tempests and time,
Welcoming as it waves you god speed from the holy ground
Towards Holyhead.
Journeys of memos and missals, monies and moribund messages
Of lives beginning and declining, deaths, births and marriages
Announced backwards and forwards across this stretch of
Sometimes stormful sea.
Passengers of poets, pastors and politicians travelling in triumph
Or travesty, traversing troubled times and waters to leave
Forever or return in silence exile and cunning, for good
News travels fast, disaster more daring it dashes ahead

Steaming away now from a life I have known to better
My future and find perhaps a new home, maybe
To find more love in Cricklewood, Catford or Camden Town.
This boat is a lifeline no matter how often we must come and go
As with our river and sea it ebbs and flows it comes it goes,
Connecting our futures our pasts our friends our foes.