Listening In

by Breda Joyce

A member of Cumann na mBan
hid it in the linen cupboard,
beneath pillowcases and sheets,
underblankets and candlewick bedspreads:
a telephone that heard the secrets
of enemy forces who never knew
what to expect – unusual activity
in Bantry, Comhola, Kealkil, Glengariff,
Durrus, Caheragh, Kilcrohane and Drumsullivan.
Messages came through a world in monochrome,
a code that was read off the bright bell
of that red phone, concealed in a linen cupboard
by a member of Cumann na mBan

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in Poetry as Commemoration workshops held at Bantry Literary Festival in July 2023. The workshops were led by writer Thomas McCarthy.