Jackie Clarke

by David Newcombe

If ever there was an event at school,
A rugby match or outing,
I would always sneak away
As it was intrigue I was scouting.

At the meeting of two quiet streets,
I’d wade through outlawed prints.
Makeshift stalls would line the path,
Of wooden planks and unsure splints.

Books and stories of our past,
Of hardship and oppression.
A man there would always welcome me,
As we discussed our shared obsession.

Invaded abruptly and marred by Albion,
For honest freedom our men did fight.
Tales of pride, of bravery and of passion,
I felt obliged to shed some light.

A collection a lifetime in the making,
Sourced by me for you to treasure.
So we might never forget our past,
So significant, yet simple, a timeless endeavour.

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in a Poetry as Commemoration workshops held at The Jackie Clarke Collection, Mayo, with students from St. Murdach’s College, Ballina, in October 2023.  The workshop was led by writer Martin Dyer.