Just a line to let you know I am still in the lands of the living
and have not forgot you…
Scraps with your sisters and brothers
scarcely primed you for life as a renegade.
You will notice the above address
which means the nearest field, hill or hayshed
when night falls.
Did you long for your warm bed
and your mother’s brown bread
slathered with farmer’s butter?
I suppose you heard we are refused the rights
of a Catholic, not even allowed to go
to Confession or Holy Communion
You know they betrayed you, and us?
...pray ever so hard for me and the boys…
send some Blessed medals or a Cross..
They molested boys like you and younger
and instituted a country where girls
could be abused as slave labour
for the crime of birthing new life.
Hoping you are in the best of health
and that I shall live to write again…
It is hard to escape capture and the bullet.
You did not escape the bullet, Jack,
though maybe you escaped
the death of hope
dreaming with your friends in a field
on an Irish hillside.
Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in Poetry as Commemoration workshops held at Wexford Archives on 20th and 27th of March 2023. The workshops were led by writer Mark Granier and archivist Gráinne Doran.