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"The Annals Say"
Poem By: Sheila A. Murphy
On the banks of the River Shannon
where grassy slopes absorb and prop
the stones of Clonmacnois, pilgrims
find grave slabs festooned with lichen,
wall ruins of St. Ciaran's Cathedral,
Irish high crosses, arches, and one
smooth-sided limestone round tower
rising more than sixty feet high.
Begun by Fergul Ua Ruairc, High King
of Connacht, who died in 864, or so The Annals say,
O'Rourke's tower was completed in 1124,
battered by lightening, and rebuilt in 1135.
Still it leans, tall above the Shannon
in County Offaly, south of Athlone,
a pairing for Yanks to ponder, in October 2006:
the name O'Rourke with the word rebuilt.
On Main Street in Middletown, bordered by traffic,
train tracks, and the Connecticut River,
O'Rourke's Diner was gutted by fire in August of 2006.
Restored by loans, sweat equity, donations, and love,
O'Rourke's reopened in February of 2008,
a culinary kingdon where Brian O'Rourke,
perhaps more commoner than king, still reigns
far from his namesake tower at Clonmacnois.