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By Nina Hynes

My home is the pillow I rest on, the air my children breathe.
My home is the tune at my fingers, the song in my heart.
I come from Ireland.

Ireland is the pagan who became a saint, who became a prisoner, who became a slave.
Ireland is an old man promising to sink her, to save her from the fires of evil.
Ireland is me pregnant and living in the land of the fallen wall, as the walls in my own home grew too high to climb.

Ireland needs to wake up, to forgive and be her own phoenix rising.

Ireland is the junkie asleep at the queen’s gate drooling over her own poetry, the drunk in New York reciting the history of gombeens and could-have-beens.
Ireland is the homosexual no more imprisoned, but truly carrying the torch of the greats she claimed as her own.
Ireland is leading the way. Ireland is not broken.

Ireland needs to realise that the fight is over and she holds the key to her own doorway.

Ireland is the loving mother, giving birth to child after child, feeding them on a diet of fluoride and horse meat pumped with antibiotics.
A smile for a penny, a song for a pint.
Ireland is the butter mountain melting on hungry heads and ghost estates keeping the homeless locked outside the garden gates.
Ireland is insisting you pay for the poisoned water.
Ireland is everybody’s else’s natural reserve.

Ireland is a myth created because the truth was too hard to swallow.
Ireland is the priest who sold the convent’s babies because he couldn’t admit he loved a man for fear of being put behind bars.
Ireland is the shaman who sold his soul to the bishop, drugged at the cross and buried in a tomb of unheard prayers.
Ireland is your mother calling your name as she leaves the earth leaving books of history for you to cry over at your son’s birth.

Ireland is the artists leaving because they can’t find a way to live.
Ireland is your children leaving because they can’t afford the rent.

Ireland has outgrown the teenager with too much makeup on to become a woman weary in her prime and running from her own fertility.
Ireland is afraid she is too old and can’t find a man.
Ireland needs to look in the mirror and see how beautiful she really is.
She needs to stop selling her body for a cheap promise, her treasure for fool’s gold.

Ireland is your man working 24/7 and neither of you able to keep the family.
Ireland is the abused child abusing her own child.
The girl taking her life by swallowing coins.
Ireland is the drunk lying in his own vomit  dancing in his mind to a trail of unheard poetry.

Ireland needs to wake the fuck up and see that every lie she commits to is laying the foundations for her grandson’s grave.
Ireland needs to stop selling her treasure for fools’ gold, to surrender to her own power and stop pointing her finger in every direction but within.

Ireland needs to wake the fuck up, and release the doves back to her own heart and away from the vultures waiting by the windows of the Vatican.

Ireland is looking for her leaders.
Ireland needs to wake from her deep sleep and see she is her own leader.
Ireland needs to start again and change everything.

Ireland is the heavens-embroidered cloth lying under her own feet.
She has the choice to awake from her weary slumber, to lift the dreams from under her feet, to stop blaming the authorities and start creating her own path.
She has the choice to be the world or let the world lead her astray.
She has the choice to sow her seeds or to eat the poisoned potato of her enslavement.

Sean Hillen’s Irelantis images are paper collages based on classic Irish postcards. Made mostly in the 1990’s, they have themselves become part of Irish culture, appearing on over 30 book covers.