When the Time is Right

by Kathleen Gallagher

I kept his cap
tweed cloth with peak
to imagine as it was
on his head
what thoughts filled
his head, addled his brain
near drove him insane.
Obligated to sign up
no one forcing him
just a deep sense
of loyalty to the cause.
Commitment to fellow
countrymen, mates, pals,
neighbours, the future.
Hearts conflict
looking at his mother
hurt and understanding
etched on her loving face.
Blinked, letting go.

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in a Poetry as Commemoration workshop held at Sligo County Library in October 2023.  The workshop was led by writer Terry McDonagh.