Twenty-One Men

by Sally McHugh

A cold bleak morning finds twenty-one men
Waiting             famished and silent.
Their passion stretches back through centuries of rule,
and forward in hope to undo the wrongs.

Courage dwells in the hearts of
Mac Eoin, Brady, Callaghan, Cooke, Conway and Duffy.

Resilience resonates in the hearts of
Farrelly, Gormley, Finnegan, Geraghty, Hourican.

Freedom beats in the hearts of
Kenny, Lynch, McDowell, Brady, Moore.

Strength burns in the hearts of
Hughes, Mulligan, Reynolds, Sexton and Sheerin.

The burden of anguish and distress
weighs upon their shoulders
until the white flag is raised – signalling surrender.

Today we linger in this hallowed spot
to remember the story of our twenty-one men
and their gallant part in the shaping of our nation.

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in Poetry as Commemoration workshops held at Galway City Museum  on 5th and 12th of November, 2022. The workshops were led by writer Gerry Hanberry.