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ISSUE:  Winter 1939

I stand before the Book of Ballymote,
The Book of Leinster, the Leabhar Breac, and last The oldest,
Leabhar nah Uidhre—tomes that hold
My people’s history in a thousand ranns: I cannot read a word.
I do not know the tongue my fathers spoke,
I cannot sing the songs my fathers sang,
I cannot read the books my fathers wrote;
Treasure on treasure in my eager hands: I cannot read a word.
The tables of my race are here: old lore
And tale; poems our bards were proud to chant To chiefs . . .
How dare I name me Irish poet?
Here is my heritage, and here I stand:
I cannot read a word.


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