The simple violence of the gun
Solved problems of ‘21,
But ’22 demanded thought
Years of action had not bought.
The blindfolded figure with the scales
Turned her back and filled the gaols;
Right and wrong had equal weight,
Poised above Dublin Castle gate.
Some sold for the immediate good
Imperious dictates of the blood;
Others could not forget an oath
The scales hung equally for both.
The Four Courts taken, shelled and burned,
Proved what diplomats have learned,
That the divided race is ruled
By those whom centuries have schooled.
Seen from a pinnacle of time
All that violence is but mime,
The issue simple – liberty
Or a prolonged dependency –
An issue simple as the choice
Between the grim, deterrent voice
And that which urged man to be free,
Un-fruiting the forbidden tree.
Ernie O’Malley Collection, NYU
Reproduced in Moylan, Terry, The Indignant Muse: Poetry and Songs of the Irish Revolution 1887-1926. Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 2016.p.637