Ciara Kenny

The Irish Times forum by and for Irish citizens living overseas,

My Generation: a poem

‘Now my generation’s leaving, a generation going away, a generation that didn’t cause this mess, but the generation that has to pay.’

Mon, Sep 10, 2012, 10:50



Anthony McDermott in Berlin

Lets just call it little Ireland, for we are filling it up so fast,
Australia is overrun with Irish, it’s revisiting its past.
Now it has started me wondering, how has Ireland gotten this way?
What catastrophe has happened, to make so many people stray?

It’s like a return to the Famine, in which 2 million people died.
We now know of course there was no famine, our English rulers lied.
Or are those boats back up the Liffey, to knock Dublin’s city clean?
Of course they’re not, that war’s long over, and buried in hill 16.

Or have the troubles returned, to haunt our streets again,
To cause 30 more years of violence, and fear and hurt and pain?
Or are these the heroes of the march, of Red Hugh to Kinsale?
Who would have thought so many men, were destined to march and fail?

No, Ireland’s in trouble, but look at who we have to thank,
A combination of our leaders, both in power and in the bank.
They squandered million after million, thinking the good times would
never cease,
But the Celtic Tiger’s dead now, and poor Ireland’s on its knees.

Now unemployment’s rising, and many more face the axe,
And the government have no money, they’ve spent our hard-earned tax.
And the cause of this recession, the corporate banking chiefs,
Have paid each other bonuses, the dirty rotten thieves.

Now I have come to Australia, like so many of my peers,
Knowing that Irelands’ recession, is likely to last for years.
And many of these young people, in this country of fire and sand,
Are gone forever, never to return, to our beautiful motherland.

When this recession’s over, and Ireland is on the rise again,
I hope people will remember, what it cost to these young men.
‘Cause Ireland will recover, we’ve been on the brink before,
We’ve fought for Ireland for many years, and we’ll fight for many more.

Will they meet us on the runway, and welcome us home with great cheers?
And will the men in power and the bankers, give us back our long, lost years?
Now my generation’s leaving, a generation going away,
A generation that didn’t cause this mess, but the generation that has to pay.

Anthony McDermott wrote this poem in Australia in June 2009, aged 26. He left Australia in 2010 and moved with his German girlfriend to Berlin, where he still lives.  “It is depressing that this poem is still as relevant today as it was
over 3 years ago when I wrote it,” he says.