Biographical Poetry posted July 7, 2022

This work has reached the exceptional level
a great sense of love and pride, but tinged with sadness

On the Birth of my Nephew

by Kevin McNeany

And I pray that this child
Unlike his forefathers and uncles,
Feel not the heavy burden of history
Upon his shoulders-
But breathe the pure air of Freedom
Both personal and political.

I pray that he be not a prisoner of his past
Instead the architect of his own future-
Imbued with the gifts of hope
Optimism, courage, and tenacity-
And that this new generation
Feel not the pain of the last.

I pray that 1690 and 1916
Are but mathematical figures to him-
Oblivious to harder days
Strike, protest, and revolt.
Conflict and its cruel resolutions.
That his eyes see only love,
And are not defeated in the trying.

Free Verse Poem contest entry


When my first nephew, Casper, was born, I was filled immediately with feelings of love, tenderness, pride, and protectiveness. My brother sent me a photo with the message, "He looks like you, only more handsome".
I pinned it to the wall of my study. When I read or wrote, I was always cheered to see his smiling, contented face. No matter how tough a day it had been, the thought of his tiny, fragile life as a thing of great family hope was an inspiration.

To be able to give him happiness and stability, attributes denied to myself and my brothers by a cold and violent father. The feeling that he would have a better, more worthy life than the meagre crumbs of fatherhood thrown to us.

I'd been reading a lot of Irish history at the time. For those unfamiliar with sectarianism, I come from what in Irish terms is described as a "mixed " family. A Protestant mother , from a family of British Loyalists, ( those in favour of maintaining the political Union with Britain), and a Catholic father, from a Republican family, (in strong, and often violent opposition to said Union).
I felt a great sense of contentment that this history would be largely irrelevant to him - (the Good Friday Agreement ending thirty years of bitter conflict having been signed in 1998.) The conflict had cost the lives of more than 3000 people, many of them innocent civilians.
(1690 and 1916 are significant dates to the respective political traditions.)
His forefathers had been involved in horrific wars, his Great Great Grandfather captured, presumed dead for three years in a German prison camp during WW1.
The world appeared to be settling down a bit, and the though of a future free of worry for him greatly pleased me. Three years ago, I suffered a series of severe nervous breakdowns, related to work.
This lead to a serious family estrangement.
This means, sadly, that I will never see him again.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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