The Final Hail Mary

by Mary Mahon Tyler

A century ago in Gubbs, Cloone, Co. Leitrim
On a bright sunny mid-May evening
A family knelt saying the Rosary
As the final Hail Mary was being said
The door of the little cottage got a loud rap
Young Philip rushed to open the door
Thinking a neighbour is in trouble
maybe a cow is calving or they need
a doctor as a baby is being born
A man in a long belted gaberdine coat
rushed over the threshold and in his outstretched hand
a revolver
Philip grabbed the belt of the gunman’s coat and as his brother
came to his aid the sound of gunshots rang out and the brothers
fell to the ground
Nimble and quick on his feet
Old Mr. McGuire dashed forward and charged at the gunman
After a vicious struggle he got the revolver
The gunman scampered as the Old Man fired a shot
From outside bullets rained on the little cottage
as they called for the surrender of the gun
The old man threw it out the door and the armed party departed
The brothers survived and their mother
credits Our Lady and the Rosary
with their Miraculous Recovery

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. Mary Mahon Tyler participated in Poetry as Commemoration workshops in Leitrim County Library, Ballinamore, facilitated by Mary Melvin Geoghegan in October and November 2023.

Dedicated to the memory of Philip and Margaret McGuire and Philip and Patrick McGuire.