The Celtic Melting Pot

By Ian McDonald


I saw a black man, Mammy

He was really tall and black

With a black face and black hands’

Her retort came with a smack

‘You should never call them black, son

It’s not nice to say that word’

‘But he was, I swear to God he was’

My excitement undeterred

My Mom lacked worldly wisdom

But her words they were concise

They’re just a little different, son

But like Protestants they’re nice’

That happened fifty years ago

When the world held such mystique

Then strangers were from Craughwell

And foreigners were unique

It’s now multi-cultural Ireland

Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Jew

The hijab and the turban

Every language every hue

The globe is now much smaller

Like a giant melting pot

But the fire that blends its contents

Only smoulders, it’s not hot

It is dampened by begrudgers

And those who fear the new

Not brainless barstool bigots

But most likely me and you

It’s a terrible indictment

That after fifty years

This progressive Irish culture

Has these prejudicial fears

Afraid we’ll lose that culture

Irish stew and Céile bands

To be replaced by Tango

And food from other lands

But we’ll keep our Irish Pizza

The curry from Madras

Our Cous Cous and Panninis

That weekly Salsa class

Our rhetoric is friendly

Tinged with anti-racist tones

But how often have we told them?

They’re invited to our homes

Political correctness

Is our only gift to date

We wave to them a welcome

Then leave them at the gate

The Céad Míle in our Fáilte

Is like flakes of falling snow

We all love to see them coming

But we hope they soon may go

Since I first saw that tall black man

Ireland hasn’t learned a lot

We keep separate all those mixtures

In our Celtic melting pot