Summer 1920

by Fiona Smith

My hope for you, valiant Bantry boy,
is that somewhere in the margins
of your account, between your precise,
careful lines, there was space for joy.

In a life removed from exercises and drills,
away from the talk of your fellow recruits,
I see you walk in black, highly-polished boots,
Towards a date in New Street. Still a boy.

To meet a member of Cumann na mBan
whose name you will forever recall.
One never-ending summer spent
together under unruly Bantry skies.

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.