I’ve thought a lot of you recently
My brave fine fellows, in ragged forms.
The tattered group emerging from the dust,
trusting that their ruins were destined
to be the foundations of the state.
Gallant lies you told, each other and yourselves –
and some came true, despite it all.
It’s almost a century, it’s a pile of progress.
One hundred years a-coming, from your day.
It’s upon us, my dears, the parades and the solemn
state-sanctioned pomp. You’ll be toasted in style.
You’ll be the belles of the ball. And all that
fun and frolic, what you’ll make of it all.
Still – one question, if you would be so kind?
I wonder if beside you walks, Brigid Allen?
Or little Christina (she was only two, do one
Of the others carry her?) or William Mullen
Or that brave wee boy of Na Fianna, John Healy?
The romantically named Walter, surname Scott.
The unidentified infant or the victims of Taylor –
Butchered butcher boy, Christopher? And the rest?
Who will mourn them, poor children of the city
murdered, massacred, or shot by accident,
collateral damage of a new-born State?
The fuel that turned the Dublin crowds
from outraged loyalty to rebel force –
a wave of sorrow as the dust cleared
The British brought the worst they’d feared.
I hope in some corner of our hearts
We hold them still, their shades upon
our streets, our parks, our avenues and hills.
The Dublin they knew long gone, ours evolving.
The revolution of the poets may be over;
the poor still suffer and rich still feast.
Remember these, our wee fallen, at the least.