Step Out of Myth into History
Comparing the works of Eavan Boland to a Modern Day Ireland
Eavan Boland’s political manifesto “Outside History” from almost 30 years ago still encloses the same matter today. The poems relevancy has somewhat been lost, even though it shouldn’t be in 21st century Ireland. Its significant message can be seen as challenging, but this is also what she is trying to display throughout her anthology.
Without going into an extreme deep analysis of the poem, here is a brief synopsis, however definitely read the poem in full, which is linked below. The distinction Boland makes, between myth and history seems to amount to this: Myth falsifies the past by exaggerating it, almost romantising it. Thereby, distancing it from the truth; history. On the other hand, history records faithfully what happened in the past and makes us as a society recogonise the importance of the past.
These are outsiders, always. These stars—
these iron inklings of an Irish January,
whose light happened thousands of years before
our pain did; they are, they have always been
outside history. They keep their distance. Under them remains
a place where you found you were human,
and a landscape in which you know you are mortal.
And a time to choose between them.
I have chosen:
out of myth in history I move to be
part of that ordeal
who darkness is
only now reaching me from those fields,
those rivers, those roads clotted as firmaments with the dead.
How slowly they die
as we kneel beside them, whisper in their ear.
And we are too late. We are always too late.
So why is this poems relevancy of great magnitude? For too long now, elements of our society have been marginalized, issues facing our growing culture have been left too long “outside history”. Similarly to what Boland is trying to portray, I’ve thought about the disenfranchised Irish society, focusing on women’s health. She cleverly mentions her own life experiences and compares them to “these stars whose light appears”. Basically showing the truth of how much distance exists. Stars burn out and take years to be discovered, just like it takes the Irish population a long time to open their eyes and see the actual truth to issues among us. We tend to take refuge in cosy ‘myths’.
As the weeks draw closer, now is the time for our society to make the right approach to a global issue facing the women of our time. As I hope you are aware on May 25th 2018 the citizens of Ireland will vote whether to repeal the 8th amendment in our constitution or not to do so. It is important to familiarize yourself with more than what is just being plastered on a campaign poster, a lot of which is similar to “myth”. From times before Eavan Boland made her most relevant piece of literature, the topic that is currently up for discussion in our society has been on the rise. Although we as a community are very much aware of the issue, why is it only now that action takes place? Due to this long course of existence with little discussion until recent times numerous amounts of our population will not ‘delve deep’ in such an important question facing our society. This all comes down to sweeping societal problems to one side just because we find them difficult to concern with.
Right now is the time to educate yourself on something that will once have an impact on your life. Currently men are put on the spectrum about using their voice in this referendum due to their gender. However, although this is about women’s health, we live in a democratic society where everyone has the right to vote, and if men didn’t vote on this issue than how can some call themselves feminists when they are not preaching equality?
For the past 80 odd years the Catholic Church has been opposed to many issues surrounding Irish society. Here we are, in 2018, where we are told we are in a equal society of truth. However, what is being adverted by the no campaign, which is mainly funded by the Catholic Church is well and truly myth and not actuate information. I constantly get asked as to why I am pro-choice and the truth is access to safe abortion is a recognised human right. As women have a legally recognised right to life, a right to health, and a right to live free from violence, discrimination, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The 'Eight Amendment' is a serious violation to these rights. We have spent years and years discussing and debating for a fundamental right that we already own but don’t actually receive. The main issue at the moment is about whether or not abortion should be legalises or not, questions are floating up and around our culture on whether or not to call the termination of a foetus or a baby, will people just be walking in and getting an abortion when they want? That answer is no, of course there is going to be restrictions put in place with correct terminology in relation to the termination of a foetus, this is about giving women the choice that should already be obtained. For those who don’t necessary want to have an abortion, repealing the eight would also result in an equal and non-discriminatory health system in Ireland, something the whole country well and truly needs and will benefit from. Your voice matters in this time of need.
I myself am in favor of repealing the eight, as personally I think the amendment achieves nothing but silence and women deserves this choice in our country. Each and every person is entitled to his or her own opinion, however it is beyond doubt how necessary it is to back up view points with factual information. Definitely check out the websites linked below if you are on the fence over what is going on and how to cast your vote. So you can be apart of the history that will create change that is finally being presented to our public eyes. Step out of myth and into history. Also check out Boland’s collection if it sparks an interest.