No Memorials

by Liam Canniffe

He was but only five years and ten
When little Belgium was o’errun;
A world threatened by tyrants, who
Would usurp the democratic line
To the resolution of conflict and lead
A world again to domination and

Promises had been made, law
That would concede all that had been
Asked since after Grattan’s time,
Then a century of years before:
O’Connell and Parnell, persistent
Voices for reform and union repeal.
Leading to Redmond’s success there,
Wherein, word surpasses sword
In the purer light of reason

And the reality of wisdom:
That ability to see the future,
Than to argue about the past.

And so in first fired passion ran
To rescue liberty from the eagle’s

But unprepared for war he was
And found that hell had vilely arrived
To that small corner of the world
Where he would learn to curse
And pray and pay the price
For others’ decision and his desire
To play his part in liberty’s fate
And make the best of whatever
Came, to show the world he would
Let down his brothers in life or

But when the war was over and won
And Europe once more set free,
Wounds opened while he was away,
Festered and repression followed on
From strife and coercion released,
On town and village, by violent men.

The newly elected now refused
To attend an alien untrusted place
And this endured for three long
Til treaty conceded to twenty six.
And those, seeking more, unsatisfied,
Quickly refused the democratic line.

And Irishman fought Irishman and
Generations, to a cause with little
And those, who to aid small nations
Were ignored and mention of their
Not made, their fight deemed alien to
the green,
There are no memorials to those who

Reproduced with the kind permission of the author. This poem features in the collection No Memorials – The Forgotten Irish (2015) by Liam Canniffe.