Here are some of the poems I composed in honour of all the men and women who bravely fought in the 1916 Rising.
The Easter Lily...a Requiem
The Easter lily bowed her head
in mourning for the newly dead
the earth cocooned
their memories...immortal wounds.
screamed primal tale
Ancestors who forged the trail
...in reverential silence thread
in fearsome dread...
all other prisoners
one by one
counted volleys of the gun.
The Sky grew dark
the dawn closed in
the shooting dead at 6.am
the eerie quiet
the dreadful din
the heavy thud
of life and limb.
Outside the prison walls
still on fire did spark
across the width and depth of foam.
The Gaelic cry resounded far
for each man a falling star
Eire's plight lit up the night
with new found pride
in freedom fight
she must retrieve
her own birthright.
The Sacrificial blood-letting
would make her strong once more...
it was not in vain her heroes died
to save her Sacred Lore
it was not in vain they bravely fought
...nor in vain they sagely sought
their cherished dream...their reverie
This poem won a short-listed award at Focal Wexford Literary Festival 2016.
Up for the Rising
Unified body, mind and thought
hearts aflame with passion fraught
they gathered at the GPO
in the fight for Eire they would let blood flow
vision alight with inner flame
they fought to free their country's name...
to play their part in The Patriot Game.
Eoin Mac Neill's untimely news
ironically transmuted to ally-ruse
when the order came to stall...to wait
they proceeded to storm the City's gate
for God and Glory and Eire's cause
they would fight to the end...win or lose
though it be not their privilege to choose.
Too late for retreat, no thought for defeat
the word spread quickly on the street
British troop contingents came in full force
with orders to annihilate the Rising at source
eyes blazing...alight Pearse and Connolly led the fight
for love of country... passion burning bright
Destiny was sealed that fateful night.
With these men in command steady loyal and true
all were fully assured of what they must do
to a man and a woman they proudly fought
without a care for themselves...not even a thought
they bravely held out to the bitter end
ammunition and supplies were all but spent
when the order to surrender had been sent.
With calm composure they surrendered the fight
and marched to the tune of British might
brave men and women true patriots these
who believed in their cause...their conscience at ease
they walked from their cells with their heads held high
still dreaming the dream in their last goodbye
they faced the firing squad...straight in the eye.
Now many will say how foolish were these
to dream their dream of Nationalism and Peace
blinded with fervour for their Roisin-Dubh
took up arms and with fervent-foolhardiness stood
to attempt to reclaim lost splendour of yore
Eire's own birthright they sought to restore...
her freedom, her language, her Gaelic folklore.
Now a century later as heroes they are renowned
for bequeathing the twenty six counties de-crowned
so here's to our heroes and martyrs so true
may you all rest in Peace and may God go with you.
'Up for the Rising' read at the ICA 1916 National Centenary Celebrations at An Grianan.