Nebraska Center for Writers


Let there be light. I walked up Barrack St. on a rainy morning
to the Market Square. Then downhill by shopfronts and a drapery
hall to the river I have named for you. I lifted a cotton tree
from my schoolbag, brushed its old roots, and put it into a hole.

Let there be a red-bricked post office to tell the time, and a
red-bricked nuthouse where the mad may play.

Let there be education. I passed through the classrooms of "The
Slaughterhouse," where Tommy Brick and Chick Welsh ruled, to
know my sums, and to learn my words. Scrape your head on the
pebbledashed wall. "Kick the ball. Kick the ball." I swung at
the ballgame I invented, while birds of the air sang on the
wires. Dubs on Hill 16.

Let me be home. Fresh herrings sold in boxes in the Square.
Window and street lights all turned on. I will be a sailor. I
will go away, but not till after tea.

Reprinted with permission from The Tamed Goose
Copyright © 1990 by Eamonn Wall
The Hale Press


Family pictures crowd our walls,
we are haunted by the girls
we didn't kiss, by the jobs made for us
we didn't get. Lonelier than the
parents we left behind, the dull life
of the old country would be fast enough.
Our national colours are the flags
which aren't flown on Labour Day.

At night we go home to break our bread.
Our doors are bolted to America.
Our dreams fastened to no promised land.

Reprinted with permission from Dyckman-200th Street
Copyright © 1994 by Eamonn Wall
Salmon Publishing

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The Rock

Nebraska Center for Writers