If the Germans Could Laugh Like the Irish

If the Germans could laugh like the Irish,
reckless, deep in drunken ambrosial seas,
walking wandering paths,
their cracked looking-glasses on open hearths

(these are the holy fools)

If the Irish could laugh like the Germans,
deep and still like endless speech-lost oceans,
climbing somber mountains,
their rise and fall engineered by the night

(these are the gods’ architects)

If the Germans could laugh like the Irish,
their eyes warm and hair gentle heather-swept,
greeting quiet morn in song
and weeping proudly in their silent grief

(these are the poets of the gods)

If the Irish could laugh like the Germans,
strong and firm, like dark primeval forests
meeting sun’s fade in song
and building stories in their silent sleep

(these are the holy dreamers)

If the Germans could laugh like the Irish,
if the Irish could laugh like the Germans,
if the earth both revere,
and the sky and the sea could hear them all

(these are the gods’ ploughmen)

If the Irish could laugh like the Germans,
if the Germans could laugh like the Irish,
their fires burning bright
across the valleys deep
and over mountains high
in morning’s rising fog
and in evening’s cool mist,
with awestruck joy and mirthful fearlessness

(these are the storytellers of the gods).

corrected version 20 Sep 2001

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