A Carved Head Fallen

by D.L. Kelleher

(Amid the Ruins, O’Connell Street, Dublin, 1916).

Philosopher or cynic, solemn-eyed,

When once again they set thee up to view

The risen street in generations new,

What breed of men shall pass? With honest stride

Of Freedom, or in bondage, still denied

The destiny that shall be Eire’s due?

(That destiny ordained of God, if true

Thou holdest back from insolence and pride.)

So questioning, I listen. Will he speak,

This sage or cynic, any quiet word?

And, in a moment, through the dusky reek,

A ray of sunlight fluttered like a bird —

‘Not slave, but free’—oh, God, upon the cheek

Of stone ran colour, and the lips were stirred.

Kelleher, Daniel Lawrence, Twelve Poems. n.d.

Constantine Curran Collection, UCD Special Collections.

Cover image: “After the insurrection,” held by UCD Library Special Collections. © Unknown. Digital content: © University College Dublin, published by UCD Library, University College Dublin