Listen my grandchildren
And yee listen well,
For there is a story I ought tell,
A story of the blood of men and lady’s tears
The story of struggle of the Irish Volunteers.
A fine morning it was of Easter week,
I bought my sweetheart a present,
A shawl I gifted after lent.
A shawl of blue, a great blue starling
To show how much I loved my darling.
‘Twas a beautiful home
A growing son I had,
Not yet ten was the lad.
With his oversized trousers and squeaky boots
As he ran, that comic cloth made great long flutes.
I left her home not muttered a word
A kiss she gave, with love.
An innocent pale dove,
She not knew what pain I was to bring her
Fighting for my country, betraying our home with lustful vigour.
We took our positions
In that accursed pantheon of hell
Cocking our guns and loading shell
We broke the clear windows and blocked the wood doors
We were ready, restless, to settle scores.
There it was born, our Irish Republic
Forged in the flames of battle
Under death and rifle rattle
Tempered by the blood of men and lady’s tears
We were the hammer of God, the Irish Volunteers.
As a forest fire spreads over the face of green earth
Slaughtering all upon its path,
Wild beasts and men alike, run from nature’s wrath
As the trees look on, trembling with fear,
their barks alight their leaves in sear.
The trees look on, as their mothers and sisters burn,
Knowing that they will soon suffer the same fate,
But knowing escape is far too late.
So, a fire of patriotism spread from soul to soul,
Amongst the men sitting in that building, as it crumbled whole.
I aimed my iron cross
And clenched my finger with steel will
My eyes shone with rage, a lust to ****.
A flash, I flinch, I shrink, the bullet loops
There he lies before me, that boy with squeaky boots.
He would then sink his head
Into a dejected demeanour
If I were to go back, he says, I would with the same vigour
Risk my life and betray my home
To serve my country, not thrusting my head into loam.
As a farmer casts his seed of golden wheat
Onto the brown soil of a furrowed field,
Bringing life and beauty for the vacant ground to yield,
So, artillery fire rained down upon us from the vast blue sky
bringing not life, but death for politics to justify
We walked out from that burning cradle of war and fire
Townspeople, those we loved, those we fought for
Jeered and cursed, we lowered our eyes to our county’s floor
I looked upon the crowd, struck I was, as by a maul
As she stared, with disgust, gravely, that navy shawl.
One moment ago, soldiers of honour,
Brave men, we felt we were, behind our triggers
Now mere traitors, scorned like *******
Our loved looked upon us, rabid dogs we were,
Waiting for cold lead to calm our wild stir.
It is with reason we left that building there to burn.
A pile of ash and gore for the British to neglect,
A standard of freedom for Ireland to recollect.
We shall long not forget the eternal glory
For what we fought for, our territory!
His long speech would end abruptly,
His eyes drowning in liquid sorrow,
His voice recovering scarcely on the morrow.
A speech cut short by what seemed was grief
was more than so, ‘twas regret, ‘twas disbelief.
My grandfather told us this story upon autumn nights,
The smoke of his clay pipe and the lash of rain
Reminding him of his unyielding pain.
A pain, a dream for a united island.
A dream drowned in blood and loud as silence.
He is with us no longer
Upon his wooden rocking chair,
Yet I am still here, his dream’s heir.
The faces that we once saw in life ourselves
Become mere pictures, gathering dust upon our shelves.
For those who read this allegory
May you be sure to remember this glory
When shoulder to shoulder our men there stood
Upon our ground, chopping forest wood.
Discharging splinters of freedom and death
We were Irish that day, you may bet!
A poem I wrote, so that people never forget the heroism of the Irish Volunteers.