by Anonymous

The beauty of the sentences
Touched me
The phrasing
The flow

Providence decrees that tomorrow I shall die…’
‘I forgive the men who are executing me…’
‘I trust that you will bear no ill…’

Such maturity, I thought
At such tender age
In such turbulent times
Making me consider
Taking my hat off to
Long ago múinteoirs
With their headline copies
And dipped nib discipline

But all the while
A little voice kept asking
Was there another hand
Behind those pens
A collar even
Moulding what they said
Desperate to engender peace
Stop the bloodshed

Yet even if there was, I’m glad
That those young men
Signed their names
Wanted what was said
To represent their stance
In centuries to come

And I wondered too
Why I had such doubt
Before remembering the letters
I’d come across before
In dusty boxes with broken lids
That gave a strong impression
Of relatives’ pleasing penmanship

Belief that I could have carried
Through the generations
Had another person
Not set me straight
About the helper
Behind the hand
Of the person
Behind the pen.

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in Poetry as Commemoration workshops held at Wexford Archives  on 20th and 27th of March 2023. The workshops were led by writer Mark Granier and archivist Gráinne Doran.