A policeman calls

by St Patrick's Glen PS Maghera

It is a morning in early May in Desertmartin, Co. Derry
The year is 1922
On this late spring day, McGeehan brothers,
Henry and James are coming home for their tea,
Little knowing that Irish history is about to change their lives.

Henry watched as a strange man travelled down the lane
The sound of the bell rang around the countryside
The tires crackled on the gravel
The man on the bike was dressed in a green uniform
With a belt holding a gun and baton.
His heart raced and sweat dripped off him
He felt faint when the policeman approached
‘I’m here for the tillage returns’

A week or so later
Henry watched as a strange truck travelled down the lane
Men jumped out with a thud like thunder
A similar green uniform to the policeman from before
But this time arriving with rifles and a roar
They kicked open the door of the McGeehan home
And pulled brothers Henry and James with force
They lined them up against a ditch
And as both men shook with fear
Opened fire with a sneer

Written by pupils at St. Patrick’s Glen PS, Maghera, as part of Poetry as Commemoration workshops led by Frank Galligan in September 2022.

The poem commemorates the shooting by Special Constables of James and Henry McGeehan in May, 1922.