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Barbados Chest in a Molly Cottage

* Molly is a townland in North Longford, Ireland, where my great grandmother Margaret Drake (who married Michael O Reilly, she herself was of the Drakes of Ballinulty) had a chest brought back from Barbados by an ancestor of hers who was a plantation agent there, of which we heard tales of when children and thought of it as a treasure chest, wondered what became of it, and in childish innocence, thought not of what pain it left behind in the islands from which it came…

Barbados chest, in a Molly cottage
Plantation agent, on a Carribean isle
Long lost, and tales of wild travels there
Remembered, told in pieces with a smile
History horrific, we stop not to think
Of those who struggled, laboured on the plantations yoke
Free now to remember the tears of their fathers before
We not as we should with guilt our words choke…
We talk in wonder only of an exotic chest
As if it contained treasure there from childish tails
When its owner, ancestor of she with the lovely garden
Brought it back to Ireland neath billowing sails.
One of many of his name, one of many of his kind
Not the first of his kind to cross the high Atlantic wave
Pirates, privateer’s, slaver’s, can these really be our folk
That made their fortune in such a way depraved?

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