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A Couple Returned by Terry McDonagh Irish Poet, Playwright and Writer
This poem, A Couple Returned, refers to the period of economic boom in Ireland – Celtic Tiger period – in the first ten years of this century. A couple return to their native rural background having become rich by some means or another. They feel superior to others and attempt to show their wealth. Most of the local population see what’s happening, treat the couple with respect but leave them to themselves. After some time, the couple, gradually, become part of the community again when they begin to return to the way of life they had grown up with.
A Couple Returned
And they crossed the bridge on a tiger
to show how rich they were, that summer.
The tiger was white, glossy and covered
in multitudes of sweat and hallmarks.
She was layered in the skin of crocodiles
and he in the style of Him and Gentry.
The beast had nails of ivory and gold; its
harness dazzled in the spray of the moon.
Some stood in rows cheering, but most
turned to the cliff-top. Fish pulled away.
Autumn looked after itself. The bank manager
shared his special joke with them and they
settled for a big house where the tiger could
show off by the front door. They B&B.
The neighbours left them to themselves until
he began painting an old boat and she read
destiny in cups. She’s greying. He’s fishing
with his father. The tiger’s stuck in a hedge.