A Rebel’s Death

by Sinéad Freeman

I was all shot through
When I came into the Barrack Square,
Where they kill men who love freedom,
To me that is not fair.
With tears and sweat combined,
My heart bleeds red,
For the land I leave behind-
And this shaking soldier will soon have me dead.
I smile at the cruelty
that has brought us here today,
This man behind his rifle,
To his duty he had no say.
I think of his life, of all he may hold dear,
And still, I think I am not foolish,
For thinking freedom was so near.
I faced him like a man
Who knew a deeper pain,
For the brotherhood before me,
without dignity they were slain.
I smiled as he lined up the shot,
My hands didn’t even shake,
Until round the chair I was tied to,
Was one pooling red lake.

Written as part of Poetry as Commemoration workshops for Transition Years led by Terry McDonagh and Mary Melvin Geoghegan in Castlerea Community School, Roscommon, in  October 2023.