False Markets (Margaí Falsa)

An English translation by Gabriel Rosenstock of Margaí Falsa, a poem by the late Danny Sheehy.

This poem was published in his first volume of poems, Súil Seilge (Coiscéim 2008) and reprinted in Poetry Ireland Review (No. 122). It reveals a philosophy that can only be defined as the native anarchism of the Gael.

 False Markets

Never got it. Still don’t get it,
I’ll never get it,
don’t really want to get it;
Footsie, Iseq Overall Index, Dow Jones,
sell off of equities, financial centres,
stock market, shares, stock bonds,
the Irish market down three per cent,
trading, marketing, buying and selling
on the false markets of the world.
How can I get my head around it
when I see no one at all buying or selling,
nothing but spectres in silk suits
tussling and scrambling in a flurry.
How good is the fire and something to chew on.

Don’t know where Wall Street is
Hong Kong or Singapore
but there are places I know well:
Sliabh Bhaile an Chalaidh
and Portach an Fhearainn, An Leacain,
Newcastle, Sheffield, Dagenham of Ford fame
and the Middle East
because that’s where
I’ve always got
my turf and coal for the fire,
a fork and a knife
to deliver food to my mouth,
diesel and petrol
to keep the old jalopy on the road
as I travel from coast to coast.
How good is the fire and something to chew on.

What care I for Wall Street
without a spud or a scallion to its name.
Canary Wharf I heard of – who hasn’t –
where the IRA planted a bomb
splintering the minds of silken spectres.
How good is the fire and something to chew on.

What’s all this fuss about Dow Jones?
why such demand
for these ludicrous markets
not a loaf of bread to be got or a gallon of oil –
it’s all trickery, treachery and fear.
There’s some fairy goings on at work here
it seems to me! All stuck in their power game
by dint of dark magic, deception and gambling
on the folly of life’s damned stock.
It’s all jiggery-pokery, a play on words
as the air burns and the skies –
God’s own children ravished alive.
How good is the fire and something to chew on.

Forget world trade
let’s just live within our means,
give a helping hand to our neighbour in time of need,
Serve the local community and the meitheal.
Buy, sell and exchange as need demands
and bring home the bacon.
We have all we require
for a night’s sleep, health and contentment,
a glowing hearth, warmth . . . food.
How good is the fire and something to chew on.