Hunger led my ancestors out of Ireland’s silver mists to the tumbling hills of Pennsylvania. There Patrick Healy got work on the railroad. Heartbroken Peg O’Leary gave to her sons the names of Irish patriots and swore she’d return to Ireland to die, although she did not. A different hunger leads me back to this place, green-gold island held aloft by a rainbow handle, where fists of clouds press upon the earth and God’s own tears fill the hollows to overflowing. Here I am making friends, many but lately returned to the soft turf weighted down by heavy stone and remembrance. Some twenty-five, thirty-five years past, an instinct for survival drove their younger selves across noose-shaped borders, borders conceived in the razored language of laws, borders sustained by so many ancient, ungovernable passions. What do we have in common, these new friends and myself? What brings us together? Somewhere beneath these fields of grass our roots are intertwined. Our journeys intersect at White Tailor’s Cross in Cork, at Galway’s Eyre Square, at a common sheeps’ crossing in Donegal, at Market Street and Dublin Road in Omagh. What have we in common? This: Blood memory. Unreliable mercy. Lust for words. Hunger. And where does Her Majesty’s Government enter in? Never a minor character. Tight-lipped, dry-witted, her understudies speaking determined carry-ons!, wreathed in impossibly unfashionable ties, sated, satisfied, drenched in certainty, though ankle-deep in bogs beyond the borders of their knowing. What shall we read between the lines? I don’t know. This is not, after all, that poem. These are merely lines in a poem. This is not the story, only scenes from a story whose plot is yet to be uncovered.