Troy – A Tale of Spuds (apologies to Seamus Heaney)

The potato it suffers,
pulled screaming from the earth,
Flayed and burnt like Jeanne D’arc.
No poem or play or song
can fully right a wrong
chipped or fried.

Innocent in Erin
beaten together, eggs, fritata.
A hunger-striker’s father
stands in the graveyard dumb.
Empty crisp packets swirl at his feet,
But where is the chicken?

History says, Don’t hope
on this side of the gravy.
But then, once in a lunchtime
the longed for tidal surge
of mash rises up,
and white, spume crashes against the crockery.

Potato bereft, blight carried
across the ocean to a new Troy.
A new shore, a new nation
Free from hunger, but not,
Not ever free from guilt
and shame and maudlin air.

What once were crisps are now chips:
What once were chips are now fries
This new Eden, this new Troy.
This new Babylon
Ancestral home, king of vegetables
This new Eden, this new Troy

And lo from the east, a great beast
Out of the desert he cries
The very earth shakes it fear,
What once were crisps are now chips are now fries
Great Trojan warrior rise up
And hope and history pass.

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