Spool Five

Aisling

Day 25! Almost done. I can’t believe that I’ve managed to make it this far. Actually, it wasn’t as hard as I thought. It’s pretty easy to write a poem a day after all. Now, writing a good poem a day…that’s another matter.

I was pleasantly surprised with today’s prompt - write a poem in the form of an ‘Aisling’! Aisling (pronounced ‘Ash-ling’) is a common name in Ireland and translates to something like a “dream vision”. The name comes from a historical form of Irish poetry in which a ghostly/angelic woman would appear to someone and warn/lament about the sufferings of Ireland (usually related to the political situation vis-a-vis Britian, during the time Ireland was a colony).

Ireland has its fair share of contemporary problems, just like any other country. But, I think one that stands out most to a lot of people is what is commonly referred to as the “housing crisis”. This “crisis” has been on-going for at least eight years and has led not only to a massive rise in homelessness, but also some of the highest rent prices in Europe (in the world?). I put “crisis” in scare quotes there because it’s one of those things that has been going on so long that you feel a bit silly referring to it as a crisis. After all, crises are supposed to be things that cause everybody to rally together and respond to, right? They are not things that just kind of linger around with promise after promise being made with no real action being taken. The situation seems like less of a crises and more like a slow, torturous, terminal condition. Anyway, it’s the first thing that came to mind when I imagined an Ashling today.

After a hard days work at the shop
A wage earned and happy with my lot
I lay my head on the bus window pane
And fell asleep to the sound of light rain

To my dismay, I found myself back
On O'Connell Street, with a peddler's sack
A woman was standing, like a shell in the sand
On a pile of rags, with a cup in her hand

She came to me and looked me in the eye
And cawed, "so yer back, did ya bring the rye?"
A passer-by turned up his nose
And while walking by, stomped on my toes

The woman was beautiful, in spite the dirt
That covered her face, her hair, and her shirt
She came closer and whispered in my ear
"My name is Aisling, don't you fear"

"I will take you to a place underneath
The stomping of feet and the gnashing of teeth
The hands stuffed in pockets, all brimming with change
And the politicians, faux-righteous with rage"

"The place is not lonely, it is filled to the brim
With all of us homeless, marked by a sin
We'll go there together in the dead of the night
And we'll live there forever, out of their sight."

"Since 2014, we've been adding to our clan
The government said they'd stop us with a housing plan
But the time to build has already passed
They've all looked away, and we have amassed."

"It was all fighting talk then, when the Brits were around
But now that they're gone, we rarely hear a sound
It's as if they have no will of their own
It's only the markets, both foreign and home-grown."

"Sit with me here, with your hand held out straight
And watch while the people pretend that they're late
No time to stop, no money to give
You'll see it's not such a bad way to live."

Just then, I awoke with a start -
My brow drenched in sweat and my hand on my heart
I looked around the bus - the people looked worn
Outside the window, the rain had turned to a storm.

Mon Apr 25, 2022 - 644 Words