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'You Don't Get To Be Racist And Irish': Imelda May reads her moving poem

By Brian Dillon

June 5, 2020 at 2:34pm

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Imelda May read out her moving poem 'You Don't Get To Be Racist And Irish' for Culture on RTÉ today.

Imelda May will release Slip Of The Tongue, a debut EP of her poetry this month. The first track, Home, was released last month.

Today, Imelda read out her poem 'You Don't Get To Be Racist And Irish', addressing what is currently going on in the US and around the world.

See the full poem below.

You don’t get to be racist and Irish

You don’t get to be proud of your heritage,

plights and fights for freedom

while kneeling on the neck of another!

You’re not entitled to sing songs

of heroes and martyrs

mothers and fathers who cried

as they starved in a famine

Or of brave hearted

soft spoken

poets and artists

lined up in a yard

blindfolded and bound

Waiting for Godot

and point blank to sound

We emigrated

We immigrated

We took refuge

So cannot refuse

When it’s our time

To return the favour

Land stolen

Spirits broken

Bodies crushed and swollen

unholy tokens of Christ, Nailed to a tree

(That) You hang around your neck

Like a noose of the free

Our colour pasty

Our accents thick

Hands like shovels

from mortar and bricklaying

foundation of cities

you now stand upon

Our suffering seeps from every stone

your opportunities arise from

Outstanding on the shoulders

of our forefathers and foremother’s

who bore your mother’s mother

Our music is for the righteous

Our joys have been earned

Well deserved and serve

to remind us to remember

More Blacks

More Dogs

More Irish.

Still labelled leprechauns, Micks, Paddy’s, louts

we’re shouting to tell you

our land, our laws

are progressively out there

We’re in a chrysalis

state of emerging into a new

and more beautiful Eire/era

40 Shades Better

Unanimous in our rainbow vote

we’ve found our stereotypical pot of gold

and my God it’s good.

So join us.. 'cause

You Don’t Get To Be Racist And Irish.

Imelda May is set to release her nine-track poetry EP on June 12. Speaking about the body of work, the singer explained, "Melodies swirl in my head. Footsteps become the rhythm to a song. But often words don't feel like they need anything more than to be spoken aloud or read alone. "

READ NEXT: Iain Stirling dedicates BAFTA nomination to late friend Caroline Flack

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