1981 hunger strikers poetry

Sweet Bobby Sands
—by Sharon Marshall

 

Behold the prints of ancient feet

From Dublin Roads and Belfast Streets

Where children's laughter broke the chains

And Bobby Sands walks free again

Where those of passion gave their names

And shed their blood for freedom's sake

With Pearse and Collins, Tone and Connolly

Sweet Bobby Sands runs free again.

 

Bobby Sands

The sky was black with grief & anger,

The rain, it fell with the strength of steel,

Ireland wept for a fallen son

As his soul & spirit was delivered to freedom.

The legends of Ireland mourned as one

As the strength was taken from Bobby Sands,

Cuchulainn's spirit awoke the fighting souls

Who saw a hero perish within a British jail.

 The ghost of Ireland’s heroes

they walk again once more,

the battlecry has been raised

to rid the British from Ireland’s shores.

Freedom's bird hid within her nest

As Bobby Sands was laid to rest,

Within the midnight sky, among the brightest stars,

His words are forever echoed, Tiocfaidh Ar La.

 

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Two Young Derry Martyrs
by Liam O Comain, Doire

Tell me why people are gathering
 In Derry's little streets
 What is their conversation
 As solemnly they meet
 Why are the shops closed
 In the drizzling rain
 Break the news, break it softly
 There are martyrs coming home.
 ~
 It was not the field of battle
 Both willing to face with pride
 Where the sounds of guns rattle
 That our martyred heroes died
 But in the dreaded H-blocks
 They found an early tomb
 With the bravery of Cu  Chulainn
 Two young Derry lads went home.
 ~
 Hear the march of our people
 With faces sad and pale
 Hear the steady foot and the solemn
 And the piper's plaintive wail
 Hoist the Tri- colour to half-mast
 Above the muffled drum
 For the gloom around is now cast
 Our martyrs are coming home.
 ~
 Make their graves upon the hilltop
 Where they played in days gone by
 Fire volley oe'r the graveside
 Where our martyred soldiers lie-
 Oh! let's not forget their sacrifice
 And when the call shall surely come
 Let us bravely serve the cause
 Of those martyrs now at home!

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RAYMOND Mc CREESH

By Tom Moore

 

He stood up to the British enemy
As tall as he could reach
And gave his life for Ireland,
The rebel, Ray McCreesh.
Soldier, hero and patriot,
Our rebel, Ray McCreesh.

The holy hills of Ireland
Enfold a hero's grave.
A lad from County Armagh
Who would not be a slave.

Not upon the gallows tree
Did Raymond meet his fate.
Nor grinning at a firin' squad
Did he enter heaven's gate.

Not on the field of battle
'Midst fire and din and smoke.
'Twas in an H-block prison cell
This hero never broke.

Ray said "I am no criminal,
I fight for Ireland's cause.
I don't recognize your Diplock courts
Nor your cruel British laws.

"I'm just an Irish soldier
Fighting for my nation.
I'm fighting for my country's flag
And for her liberation."

He gave his life like Bobby Sands
And his good friend Francis Hughes.
He gladly went to meet his God
As was his right to choose.

He took no food nor water.
His will they could not bend.
"I am an Irish soldier,
a soldier to the end."

He starved to death on hunger strike.
While many a comrade cried,
The evil witch on Downing Street
Smiled when she learned he died.

Thus the British killed him.
They've martyred Raymond's name.
Another Irish hero,
To the Brits eternal shame.

The fiddler played a sad refrain,
It played it sweet and slow.
The I.R.A. they buried Ray,
With their colors dipping low.

So sing the praise of Ray McCreesh
And recall his name with pride.
That valiant Irish soldier,
For you and me he died.

The holy hills of Ireland
Now shelter Raymond's tomb
And all around that sacred place
Wild shamrocks are in bloom.

So stranger kneel when passing
And gently say a prayer,
For solders like this Ray McCreesh
Are heroes that are rare.

He stood up to the British enemy
As tall as he could reach
And gave his life for Ireland,
The rebel, Ray McCreesh.
Soldier, hero and patriot,
Our rebel, Ray McCreesh.

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Francis Hughes.
 

In Derry’s hills they mourn a son
A brave young Irish soldiers gone
For he was kind and will live on
For Hughes lives on forever

Chorus

Freedom’s dawn has come at last
Judgement for is judgement past
Your tyranny is dying fast
For Hughes lives on forever

Guardian of the hill and dales
Tyrone and Derry loft and well
Though tortured in that dark H-Block cell
Hughes lives on forever

Chorus

Freedom’s dawn has come at last
Judgement for is judgement past
Your tyranny is dying fast
For Hughes lives on forever

Scourge of Ireland’s enemies
The SAS and RUC
Unconquered still your spirits free
For Hughes lives on forever

Chorus

Freedom’s dawn has come at last
Judgement for is judgement past
Your tyranny is dying fast
For Hughes lives on forever

Brave Francis Hughes you’re with us yet
Your murderers we’ll not forget
They feared you then and they fear you yet
While Hughes lives on forever

Chorus

Freedom’s dawn has come at last
Judgement for is judgement past
Your tyranny is dying fast
For Hughes lives on forever

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The Martyrs of May

By D S Levey

As daylight fades to evening, on a cold Beltaine night
My mind slips into memory, for those who shone the light
Of freedom for old Ireland from under john bull’s thumb
To let the world know we would stand, until our cause is won
In just the last one hundred years, some fifty passed away
A constant stream of martyrs, within the month of May

It started back in Sixteen, with Mcdonaugh, Pearse, and Clarke
Who left us on the third of May, in hopes they’d be a spark
To another generation or those left to carry on
For the flame must not diminish, though our heroes may be gone

Others soon would join them, indeed within a week
There were ten the English murdered, but who’s graves we cannot seek
For after two more met their fate, the twelfth of May that year
They were all interred in quicklime, that we may not revere

Younger Pearse and Plunkett, Ceannt and Daly and McBride

O’halloran and Colbert, were among the next to die

Heuston, Mallin, and Macdiarmada, and Thomas Kent as well
‘Til last they murdered Connolly in old Kilmainham Jail

Sadly this was not the last as May would take her toll
On Irish hearts from then to now, as on the years did roll

In five years time it was our own, who we had once called friend
That burned the four courts nearly down, in claiming to defend
The unlawful partition, of a land that’s not yet free
They left their fellows hanging, for a sell outs liberty

In forty-six it would continue, with yet another martyr gone
As Sean McCaughey gave his life, but the struggle carries on
He refused his food and drink, though they tried to force it down
But he stayed true and soon became another victim of the crown

In less than thirty years another tragedy would strike
As Britain and their loyal scum, would as usual unite
In Monaghan and Dublin, the screams would pierce the air
But thirty four were silenced, to bombers on the tear

Thirty four who lost their lives, though collusion it is said
Does not exist, well tell that to those grieving for the dead
In just less than a decade, there’s many more would fall
Until the spring of Eighty-one, when hunger came to call

This time all the world it seems, was tuning in to hear
Is there a death in H-Blocks, the end must soon be near
For the Irish are no criminals, no matter what the anglish say
A saddened world was waiting for more than sixty days

As Bobby Sands, that gentle man, did still refuse to eat
Until they’d call him P.O.W but the anglish would not treat
On fifth of May in Eighty-one, some six and sixty days
Since last he touched a speck of food, poor Bobby passed away

The first of ten the anglish crown would sit and watch to die
With three more in this month alone, as the world could only cry
Hughes, O’Hara, and McCreesh, remember them with pride
For by the end of May, these three brave heroes also died.


The list is long and hallowed, of those who passed away
They died for Love of Freedom, in the Martyrs Month of May

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