This day, 100 years ago
Seven men were given a pencil and some paper to write notes
To their loved ones
and parents filled with dread
For they would not read the letters ‘till their sons were dead.
Sentenced by a drumhead court, abandoned by the bishops of their church
Ministered to by an army chaplain, and beloved by their God.
For in those final hours, they prayed as all must do
That we might find solace in the faith we pledge in You.
One by one they faced their fate, as the bravest all must do
Their crime to stand by comrades dear, and a cause they loved as true.
A cause they had once shared with those, who now stood to fire those fatal shots
And tear apart, those young men’s hearts and families, now lost.
stand here now,
we did not forget,
we pray for you – as you had asked
and for those, who were left.
And for all
those who died
And sacrificed so much
that we, might have a better life
No songs of hope for Ireland, no gallant marching tunes
No glorious hymns for martyred dead, when a funeral dirge must do
For the truth is this, that hearts will break, when they sound the pipe’s last call
And volleys fired o’er Fenian graves, won’t ease the pain at all
“Suaimhneas síoraí go raibh ag a n-anamacha uaisle”- Eternal rest grant unto their gentle souls.
Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in Poetry as Commemoration workshops held at Newbridge Library in January 2023. The workshops were led by writer Debbie Thomas and archivist Karel Kiely using archival material from the Curragh Internment Camp during the War of Independence.