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  • Unless you approach it from the sea
    you cannot help
    but come upon the city suddenly
    because of its fine setting;
    ringed by high hills,
    sea inlet and river valley.

    Stone-carved heads of gods and poets,
    scientists, kings and queens
    peer down from the highest ledges of banks
    and old linen warehouses.
    The IRA is telling him to join them
    against the English throne
    or find another place to live.

    Mr. Sweeney walks the streets alone
    looking for work amid the empty store fronts.
    Staring upwards at elaborate sculptures
    over doors with bullet holes and broken windows.
    Graffiti scrawled on walls,
    “Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.”

    He’s always looking up,
    Gaelic optimism flowing over
    another pint of Guinness at the corner pub.
    Giant cranes tower over the shipyard’s port,
    ringed in barbed wire.
    The dry dock workers call his name,
    shouting over break time horns.
    The city and the river front are in the process
    of being transformed,
    And even in the distance, through the fog and rain
    he longs to get away.
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