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Mise Eire* I won't go back to it— my nation displaced into old dactyls, oaths made by the animal tallows of the candle land of the Gulf Stream, the small farm, the scalded memory, the songs that bandage up the history, the words that make a rhythm of the crime where time is time past. A palsy of regrets. No. I won't go back. My roots are brutal: I am the woman— a sloven's mix of silk at the wrists, a sort of dove-strut in the precincts of the garrison— who practises the quick frictions, the rictus of delight and gets cambric for it, rice-coloured silks. © 1995 Journal of Women's History, Vol 6 No. 4/Vol. 7 No. ι (Winter/Spring) The title refers to an older Irish poem, in which Ireland speaks as a woman. It means "I am Ireland." 1995 International Trends: Mise Eire 217 I am the woman in the gansy-coat on board the Mary Belle in the huddling cold, holding her half-dead baby to her as the wind shifts east and north over the dirty water of the wharf mingling the immigrant guttural with the vowels of homesickness who neither knows nor cares that a new language is a kind of scar and heals after a while into a passable imitation of what went before. from Eavan Boland, Outside History: Poems 1980-1990: W.W.Norton, 1991. Reprinted with permission of W.W.Norton (U.S.A.) and Carcanet Press Ltd. (United Kingdom). ...


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