I wrote this poem for artists, musicians, singers, poets and writers who have found themselves out of work during the pandemic. We need to value artists and and remember that we need culture for our spirits now more than any other time.

Take heed when theatres close their doors

And cinemas are shut

When libraries are hazardous

And exhibitions cut


Yes cry when dancing endangers life

But rugby scrums are fine

When GAA teams roam the country

But artists stand in line


In line for grants and social welfare

As all their income’s cut

And everything deemed culture

Is vilified and shut


There’s something in the sharing

Of culture that runs deep

With screens there is an absence

We remember in our sleep


We dream of crowds at concerts

Of the magic and the spark

The beaming smiles around us

As we sway together in the dark


We remember when we used to sing

The rebel songs at night

In rambling houses down boreens

Until morning brought its light


It was through keening at the grave

That broken hearts found peace

The fiddle brought us jigs and reels

And legs that did not cease


To pound the floor in rhythm

Swinging partners round and round

And breathless waiting for a break

To the wild infectious sound


Our bones are filled with rhythm

Our hearts they seek the words

In the absence of our singing

We now rely on birds


This time 100 years ago

Our country was at war

But poets kept our hearts alight

Until our spirits could restore


We’re not just the land of saints and scholars

But of music, art and rhyme

We need culture for our spirits

Now more than any other time


©Lisa Fingleton 2021