Cherishing for Beginners, by Sarah Clancy

Cherish the meek,
cherish the ranchers,
cherish the guards
cherish the virgins – then ride them and cherish their sisters,
cherish tax dodgers
and entrepreneurs
cherish the rewards
of intergenerational privilege
or if that’s too hard for beginners
then cherish the rose of Tralee,
cherish the goal and the point and the foul
cherish the priest’s dirty sheets
but not the women who wash them,
shh! don’t even mention them

or what they might need,

go on and worship the IFSC

and its brand of laundries
– those ones are fine,

they are grand sure:
Cherish Them.

Cherish the men
because they couldn’t help it
if the women and girls went and fell pregnant,
cherish the foetus, the heart beat,
but not the human it’s in
then cherish the graves
in their undisclosed wastelands
cherish the shovels
and boot soles that dug them-
let there be no doubt about it: Yes We Can!

cherish dead children
if they’re from the right class,
don’t forget too that we must
cherish the mute,
and cherish the sheep
but hate those in need,
cherish Fr Peter McVerry himself,
go on and make him an icon
but don’t hear

what he’s saying
about anything.

Cherish the poor
for how you can use them
to quieten those who are just one rung above
cherish the people
who learned early and often
what happens to those
with big mouths,
cherish the local tds,
and the crowd in Listowel
who didn’t care that he raped her
sure wasn’t he one of their own?
Yea cherish the rapist,
why don’t you.

Cherish the golf course
and its sprinklers,
sure Irish Water will save us
cherish piece work, and internships,
and zero hour contracts
aren’t you lucky to have a job at all,
do you not remember the coffin ships
and are you not grateful?
Cherish your own exploitation
cherish the school board,

for the lack of gay teachers,
cherish women’s place in the home

it’s written in our constitution,

then cut their allowances,

sure they don’t deserve them
repeat after me- Cherish Privatisation;
and if you don’t then you better learn
to cherish the knock on your door
in the morning.

Consider this a warning.

Cherish Dev and Pearse
and blood sacrifice

but not what it was for,
don’t mention James Connolly
who said that until Ireland’s women are free
none of us will be, most of all though
cherish outsourcing and remember
that your call is important,
you too will be cherished equally
if you can afford it

as soon as an operator

becomes available
which may well take until Easter 2016.

Sarah Clancy