Homage to J. M. Synge

Brian Farrington

There was always the imperial Parent, looking on,
time-honoured know-all, brooking no answer back,
sagacious, deprecating, self-appointed
author of our achievements;
always there, the strict correct paternal
umpire that his sons would never set on.

You can't have understood what you were doing,
and if you had you'd likely have suppressed it:
(your brother, evicting tenants in Mayo,
maintained the family incomes that you lived on.)
You tried to opt out, only half succeeded,
broke, not poor, you never looked for a job:
art for art's sake on a private pittance.
And yet, tenebrous mollycoddle with the silver tongue,
it came from you, or through you, it was yours
the stark triumphant image, faked out in prancing words,
the bootstrap myth that made of us the first
New Nation. No wonder they couldn't take it,
The Independent readers in their Pit,
no wonder they tried to chase you from the stage
when you reached for the loy to split that meddler's crown!