OF SATURDAYS MADE HOLY, Poetry by Michael D Higgins

(In Memory of Mary McPartlan, Folk Singer & Trade Union Activist)

The night is long and I awake 

Recall the making of the march,

On those Saturdays made holy,

The beat of feet behind banners,

That bore the glory of the words,

The call for a life made equal,

Banners held steady for the speech,

Gold threaded, fringed, eyeleted

With care, for the carrying,

To defeat the opposing breeze,

Borne by arms made strong,

From work of mind, of heart and hand.

Those words, sent out to cheers

I search for now,

They are not gone,

Nor is the memory,

Of how they danced, without restraint,

Skipping back and forth to cheers,

In joyful subversion

Of the ordinary.

The echo of that beat of feet behind banners,

On Saturdays made holy

Is slow to come.

Can it be that it is lost,

Perhaps forgotten?

Surely not so.

For in the long sweep of history,

In the stories that will be told,

Others will hear of how behind banners

They marched, women and men

And children too, on Saturdays made holy,

It will be told of how they sometimes won,

And often lost, if never defeated

It will matter that they sometimes wept

On folding, for another day, those banners

That carried words, emancipatory

The night though long

And dawn so slow in breaking

Yet morning light, glorious,

Reveals how from those arrows fledged in history,

That miss their mark in darkness

Have sprung in light some frail fruit trees,

Of hope

In other times, an old planet weary finds new life,

Renewal from the music of the heart.

And now a new song emerges,

From behind banners gold threaded, again made sacred,

On Saturdays made holy, with words emancipatory,

As voices rise in unison,

And sing of love,

And a new day, 

For all humanity.

MDH May Day, 2020

About the contributor

Michael D Higgins
Michael D. Higgins has published four collections of poetry: The Betrayal (1990), The Season of Fire (1993), An Arid Season (2004) and New and Selected Poem (2011). Michael D. Higgins has written three books on sociology and politics, including: Causes for Concern (2007), Renewing the Republic (2011) and When Ideas Matter: Speeches for an Ethical Republic (2016).

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