Slàinte Mhaith

Slàinte Mhaith

I ask, a toast for written words
So find the finest spirit
You have near
Regard its stillness
Like the millpond cove
That greets the tired fishers
Dredging up their lines
And lobster pots
To see what literary critters
Creep and crawl within

These stories are a hearty dinner
Season life with vibrancy
To make us rich in living
Slàinte mhaith!

Drink a dram
Now for the stories
Which breathe complex life
Into the women history ignores
They are sandbags set against the flood
Of patriarchy pouring round us
Now and from our past
So raise a glass

And drink a dram again
For stories which tell us of when
Through abuse and shattered lives
The love of friends remains
A steel thread
Shining in the city grime
(And on a personal note
I hope Róisín does burn
That fuckers house down)
Raise a glass!

And drink a dram again
For stories which grant us some sight
Of personal liberation
They must be heard to be believed
And in their telling
Forge the author into diamond,
Shining inspiration
Herself a higher being
So raise a glass

And drink a dram
For shell-shocked elevator operators
I hope she had a good union
To shield her from the incandescent
Carrie Fisher’s fuming
And rest in peace for she
Who burned the brightest
For too short a time
So raise a glass

(And speaking of pornography)
Drink a dram again
For stories which show
How love is found in healing
And how a good life can be nurtured
When we chop away the evil
Let it breathe and grow
And add its blossom
To the natural beauty of this place
So raise a glass

And drink a dram again
For he who fought the island mud and won
Who was not fooled
By scenic Scottish glen
Who knew his enemy
And rode the saddle
To glorious, pyrrhic victory
Sustaining losses
In the woolen garb
He’ll never put back on
(I speak, of course, of Oberon)
So raise a glass!

And drink a dram again
To newfound poets
Who may demur
Against the gold dust of their writing;
The only thing I find surprising
Is that she doesn’t think herself
A writer in our company
We are reduced without your stories,
So string a bow
And let the verse fly free
And raise a glass!

And drink a dram again
For the writers who can conjure
Their lost loved ones to our eyes like tears
Every death is different
I don’t assume to know each eddy of your grief
There will be treasured memories
She left you with which sit
Within a locked strongbox
These are too personal to share
I know; I have the same.

But it's a privilege and gift
You give to let us see
The grace of she who joked
And makes us laugh
Still through the gloom
So raise a glass.

And as for me
I would forsake my health
For everyone I love
Let it spread and pool around them
So they feel no flaw
Nor faltering step
Until their final days
It can collect as dew upon the grass
So when they wake
To see the gleaming sun
I will be there, in reflection
Rising to the sky,
Intangible and sweet
As a green breath in Shona forests