It is with tattered hat in hand and my weary head bowed that I write to you. It has been a year since I’ve last seen your beauty, since I’ve last felt your warmth on my skin.
I know how it must have felt when I left you, you who have been a part of my life for as long as I can recall. But, you must understand, I could not go on. I needed my chance to be free, to make something of myself on my own accord.
I thought you were holding me down, forcing me back, and keeping me from what I could be. I was told by many that I could be more fulfilled without you and that life would be better away from your embrace. So I left you, on that ship bound for a distant shore, my excitement outweighing my guilt.
I thought of you often on that long journey. I reminisced about the times we had shared, the memories we had created, and what all I had left behind. Alas, my darling, I am ashamed to say that I felt little remorse. I was bound for great things and opportunities that would soon replace my longing for you. I entered my new world wide eyed and naïve. Fully unaware of what was in store, contemplating only the best, not daring to acknowledge the worst.
Now, here I stand, back stooped and heart darkened. My soul has been hardened while my mind has become numb. There is only suffering and agony here, save for a few moments. The only cure for the toil of this ole’ paddy is the chance for a little extra coin in his pocket. And even then, the coin is only enough to find brief reprieve in the bottom of a half empty bourbon bottle, or in the bed of the local cathouse.
As dreadful as my outlook was when I was with you, it does not compare to the vicious iniquity that faces me here. I am constantly bombarded by the vile, the obscene, and the morbid. At least, when I was with you there were no illusions of grandeur. Despite my position, I could always take comfort in your emerald eyes.
But here, the illusion is so close, yet just out of reach for all us Micks. Here, in the land of freedom we are met with insults and jeers. People spit on us and treat us lower than dogs. It is a place where we are confronted with signs that read “Help Wanted – Irish Need Not Apply”, a place where we are forced into panhandling or strong arming. Where safety is found only in the rotten stench of our tenement houses, shoddily built in our destitute neighborhoods.
Our view of the prosperous city lights are drowned out by the smoke of the factories and by the fog from the docks. There is no beauty to gaze at, no freshness to consume, and no honor to behold. All of these longing qualities of life were stripped as soon as I left your shores for those of another.
I long to see you again, my dear, to once again gaze upon your distant shores now merely held as a faded memory, as a faint glitter of hope. The thought of your emerald fields, your rugged black coasts cut into jagged lines from the deep blue of the relentless ocean, keep the spark alive inside me. The smell of your salty coasts and the sounds of bagpipes from the north shore to the Celtic Sea haunt my dreams, yet keep me pressing forward through the hardship. For without you my darling, I am but a shadow of what I used to be. My emerald isle, my home amongst the mountain filled coasts and lush central plains; it is you who complete me and make me whole.
I can only hope that you will find it in your hallowed soil to take me back, to allow me to once again set foot on your sacred heart. For once I return I will never leave you again. I will stay with you forever, for I have learned the error of my ways. But until that time, Darling, I will continue to slave through the despair, through the agony, and the vile contempt of my new world, for it is the price I pay for leaving, and the debt I must honor if I ever wish to return.
Copyright © 2013 John Wiegand. All rights reserved.
John is a fellow writer and is author to the blog ”Wanderlust and Adventure Bound.”
Be sure to check out his other work there!