[the] north[ern] [of] ireland

It is both a dignity and
a difficulty
to live between these
names,

perceiving politics
in the syntax of
the state.

And at the end of the day,
the reality is
that whether we
change
or whether we stay
the same

these questions will
remain.

Who are we
to be
with one
another?

and

How are we
to be
with one
another?

and

What to do
with all those memories
of all of those funerals?

and

What about those present
whose past was blasted
far beyond their
future?

I wake.
You wake.
She wakes.
He wakes.
They wake.

We Wake
and take
this troubled beauty forward.

“[the] north[ern] [of] ireland” from Sorry for Your Troubles by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Copyright © 2013 by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Originally published by Canterbury Press. Used with the permission of the author.

This poem was originally read in the On Being episode “Belonging Creates and Undoes Us.”

Reflections