Maureen's Tears

by Imelda Gillespie

As you skipped along the road to school,

you remembered, it was a fair day in Killaloe.

Avoiding the busy streets, crammed with animals,

on that dark November morning.


The day went well, until after lunch,

Sr. Philomena told us, in a stern voice,

that we must leave quickly and return home.

Outside, some of the girls had heard, 

Something dreadful had happened in the town,

they gathered together for comfort.


In your house, Maureen, you hear the full story, 

Four beautiful young men, shot to death, the

night before, on the bridge, right in the middle of the town.


Impossible to hold back your tears, as you thought

of them, just a few years older than yourself.

They were marched to their deaths, after

questioning and ill treatment by English forces.


For them, escape was impossible, the river deep,

their hands tied. You recalled that story

over and over, even in your nineties, and always

said, “Such brave men, they died for Ireland.”

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in a Poetry as Commemoration workshop led by Mary O’Donnell in Kilkenny Library on March 8th 2023.