From a Register of Sick Calls - attended to by the Clergy in July and August, 1922 during the Siege of Waterford

by Joyce Butler

I passed through Kilmacthomas on the bus yesterday morning in the pouring rain – 

that was before I knew his name – 

John Doyle from Roches St –  signed the petition against conscription 

was shot in the Post Office during the Siege – 

he died on the 7th of August –

A hundred years ago my hometown was full of guns – 


Hidden under the bed, 

in the shadows behind the front door – 

I’ve never held a gun.

Mary Ann Gaffney from Upper Grange was shot accidentally by her neighbour – 

James Flynn – 

he’d never held a gun before – 

she was prone to swearing – 

a shot rang out – blood poured from her mouth – 

Flynn said the gun was left by armed men in his hay shed – 

the Judge said ‘the reign of the gun is over ‘ 

They heard the gunshot in the seconds before.

We must forget about all that now.

I’m trying to remember.

Patrick O’ Grady was shot in Kilmacthomas – 

a bullet lodged in his spine – 

the priest called to see him in the County Infirmary – 

he recovered from his injuries.

Young men in peak caps – Some farmers

Brothers with guns – posing for the camera. 

Smiles and laughter

In The Granville

Forget about all that now.

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem will feature on the Poetry Jukebox installation in IMMA from October 2023 to April 2024.