A poem by Colm MacConfhaola, our past minister.
Easter 2016 Had Pearse but seen ..
For years I’d longed to gaze
On O’Murnaghan’s great manuscripted pages
His tribute to the fallen great
Who died to set us free.
But then I learned the book was on display.
I passed through shabby streets
Disgraced by graffiti and neglect –
Young thugs in insurrection, the old just couldn’t care,
The way of drugs and dole and compensation.
Barbed wire and rusting iron bars
On widows, roofs and doors
Turn little shops into internment camps.
I came to where poor croppies,
Hanged in droves on Dublin’s bridge,
Were dumped in pits.
My footsteps echoed down the floors
of Collins Barracks
Past Chineese jade and found
Glowing with all the shades of sea and branching trees,
Great plumaged birds and stretching sails,
O’ Murnaghan’s mighty pages,
singing in sonorous polyphony,
Commemorating the glorious dead who rose
And died that we be free
Well interlaced and swirling, densely packed
With throbbing life, the pages tell their names,
White stars clustered o’er a sapphire isle
The three great waves of Erin
Crash against its coasts
Bursting into a thundering interlace of waves and spray
That spill in rage and anger ’cross the page
And die in hissing spirals on the sands
Broad sails spread over boiling oceans,
Great primeval forests with interlacing boughs,
Birds in sumptuous plumage,
Fragments of ancient texts,
Commemorate the fearless death
Of valiant men,
Their beating hearts
Butchered by fusillades of lead.
A glorious tribute to the heroic dead.
Now self-appointed pontiffs rise to damn their names,
To parse their words and snigger at their dream.
Had Pearse but see in the year of grace
His clergy in disgrace,
Our green and fertile fields
Parcelled up for developers greed,
Politicians’ profit, and public loss,
A land in the iron grip of graft,
Vulgarity, greed and ostentation,
Neither Gaelic, nor free but bankrupt,
Squeezing money from the weakest
While billionaires add bloated millions to their wealth.
Or had he seen our drunken girls and brawling louts
Puking their beer and chips
On dirty concrete pavements,
While publicans count their cash
And politicians sleep secure,
And never question how we’ve squandered the liberty
For which so many died.
Would Pearse have cried out “Halt”?
“Those croppy boys were fools to dream of Ireland free!
I’ll save my skin – you see –
I’ll use my brains and law degree
To challenge Britannia’s rule in court
And set the criminals free.”
An yet I think that he
Would rather face his death in a prison yard,
And those that were to die would all agree –
“The blazing dream we’ve seen is worth our blood
For generations yet unborn will dream it too.
And may God in his good time let it come true.”
– Colm Mac Confhaola