by Esther Mackey

Independence is a war
you fight
battle by bloody battle

You need to feel the injustice
in your gut
to take up arms

Ambush by ambush you become
skilled in the struggle
competent in conflict
brazen in resistance

Identity is hard won.

Then one morning you watch a song thrush
nesting in an ivy thicket
among twigs and grass and mud lined with moss

She watches as her chick pecks
a ragged escape
out of its mottled pale blue egg

It pops out with wet wonder

It will learn to fly
and to call: knee deep knee deep
it will learn to sing: cherry dew cherry dew

It will not worry about war.

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in Poetry as Commemoration workshops held at the Thomas MacDonagh Museum on 20th and 21st of September, 2023. The workshops were led by poet Thomas McCarthy.

Cover Photo by Petr Ganaj