“The Green That Is Ireland” is a poem by award-winning writer Waide Riddle.
Lush, the face of Ireland is.
Infinite rolling and cascading hills of rich green.
Sometimes she is the fury of a winter’s blistering blizzard.
Sometimes he is the awesome strength of a coastal white foam splash.
Other times she is gentle and caresses her face with the petals of her wild flowers.
Her fields are as soft as bed linen.
Other times he is anger; a roar that echoes from the past generations.
Battle cries that killed fathers and sons.
Always proud. Always courageous.
Carpets of green outline its canyons and layers of emerald trace its depths.
As once my father told me as a small child, “This is the green that is the Irish. This is the green that is Ireland.”
And we sat in a mid-day sun shower and fell silent and breathless… beneath a behemoth rainbow of grand and majestic colours…I heard the song of birds…I smelled the perfume of the Irish earth.
The flash of rain… sheets of sun glint.
A crystal waterfall exploded over a jagged rock cliff.
My senses overwhelmed by each shade, blend, transition and cast of the green.
I kiss this nation.
I kiss my country.
And I close my eyes and I ponder the words of my papa from long ago.
His affirmation was clear and undeniable.
Truly, this is the green that is the Irish. This is the green that is Ireland.
Originally published in CQ: California Quarterly 2012 by the California State Poetry Society; WINNER: Honorable Mention by the CSPS 2012. Archived in the UCLA Library of Special Collections. Audiobook beautifully narrated by Seth Reuben and cover art by Jorge Velasquez