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A Poetry Reading by Helen Hutchinson

Updated: Oct 19, 2021

In association with Blanchardstown Traveller Development Group, The Complex filmed an event celebrating Local Traveller Pride Week 2021.

Shot in The Ground Floor Gallery, the event included a poetry reading by Helen Hutchinson.

Helen is a poet whose work contemplates issues facing Travellers in contemporary society. The poems she read as part of the event explore topics such as social isolation, Traveller rights, and a child’s first experience of prejudice.

Helen performed three pieces, titled ‘The Travelling Man’, ‘No Surrender’ and ‘Hold My Hand’.

This project was supported by The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

‘The Travelling Man’

When I was a young Traveller, well every road I’d know

If you got lost in a place, I’d tell you where to go

Ah well the Travelling people now, they’re blocked out of everywhere

They tell us to settle down, that it’s for the best

We try to do what they tell us, but they put us to the test

They call us hurtful things, tinkers, knackers, words like that

And while they are insulting you, an eyelid you’re not meant to bat

It leaves you with no choice, up and out you go

Trying to find a place that once upon a time you knew

It’s very hard to find a place when you’re from a Travelling clan

You may as well build a spaceship and get out while you can

You feel so fed up of the rejection and the slander

And I say in the name of God, why do you want to change me?

Well, we’re all the one, life’s a con

And this world’s gone so greedy

Well, if you ask me what’s wrong,

This world’s gone stone crazy

‘No Surrender’

Are we rejections from a production line? Or were we born with flaws?

Maybe it’s a case we were born with no fingers, or maybe it’s a case we were born with no toes

Sure, so maybe that’s to blame, so when it comes, we have no right just to live this life at all

The fact that we are Travellers, from the first day we are born,

We are shunned and judged by you, the majority of you all

Through pure ignorance we are hurt, we are forced to live on the margins

By good Irish Christians yeah, by you

But one day we’ll break even

To be respected and given our civil rights

A strong statement I’m not mistaken, we won’t have to fight

We don’t want what ye’ have, only our own ways

Our culture and shared history should take its rightful place

Among the Irish Nation, among the Irish race

‘Hold My Hand’

Please hold my hand, I want to play with you

What’s wrong with me? Please tell me

As I am not like you

I know I’m a Traveller, but I don’t do you no harm

I just want to play ring a rosie

Oh please, won’t you hold my hand

It’s the first day at school and I’m frightened and I’m lonely

And no one will play with me, and I don’t like the names you call me

And I don’t understand

Are you saying those words to hurt me?

Oh please, won’t you hold my hand

It’s hard to know where I come from

But now I live like ye’ in a house

Now we’re all settled, we’re all the same

Oh please, won’t you hold my hand?


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