All the beer mats turned red in Limerick
the night that rebel Doctor Che Lynch took a wander
along Glentworth Street,
the jingling city
down his throat
on this island of his ancestors.
With a beard
as dark as the comforting Guinness,
he slaked his ruggerman’s thirst,
his well-shaken mix of Irish and Galician roots,
by the night-soaked Shannon.
Thirty months later, he was dead in Bolivia;
of a revolutionary’s sweat
rolling down the guttter.
Now, I am sending this green poem
to your own heaven, old Che;
for your spirited lapel,
a singing sprig of shamrock
to light up the culture shock
of your long wild hair.
You chanced it in Hanratty’s ‘Gluepot’ bar,
you plunged from the leaden sky
to chat up all this local talent
in the eloquent lilt of a roaring evening.
Mighty ‘Red Bird’,
icon at the bar,
no better or worse
than the barman
who served you
a pint or two of Irish love,
to make your heart
grow even bigger;
to set you up
for your flight
‘three sheets to the wind’,
rocking across the mighty expanse
of the rolling drunk Atlantic to Havana,
to a certain
And, amid the glorious beauty
in the murderous jungle
of brutal dreams,
will remember you
and celebrate the night
you fell in with us.
Posted by keith armstrong at 7:57 am