The Shirt of Courage

By Patrick Treacy, 1st Year.

New country, free Ireland, 

Every man, woman, girl, boy, 

Knew it was the day, 

To fight for freedom and for joy.

Easter Sunday, 

Nineteen Sixteen, 

Irish people were ready, 

To fight for a country they had not yet seen.

Padraig Pearse, 

The McDonagh brothers, 

Eamon De Valera, 

These are some names, but of course there are others.

This is the story, 

The story of a rebel, 

He was one among others, 

Who fought against hell.

The name is James Connolly 

And he did wear a shirt,  

But its last day on his back, 

It carried blood and dirt.

He knew it could be, 

The last day he did see, 

But he was prepared to risk his life, 

For both his family and his wife.

Things started well, 

Everything went according to plan, 

They marched, they hit, 

They shot, they ran.

The English were asleep, 

They had their own war to fight.

And the Irish had hope, 

That they could be celebrating tonight.

However, the English soon became aware, 

That danger awaited them, 

In the Island they called Ireland. 

It was time to stop it, to put it to an end.

They were better trained, 

More advanced, more skilled, 

They would bury the Irish, 

One by one, they would be shot and killed.

James Connolly was one of these poor people, 

He was wounded and hurt, 

Assistance was provided, 

As he was dragged by his shirt.

However it was at this point, 

That people lost belief, 

It was time to run, to leave, 

It was time to get away, It was time to retreat.

At this stage, 

It was much too late, 

The English weren’t taking prisoners, 

It was now their choice, to decide their battered opponents’ fate.

They picked out the troublemakers, 

One by one, 

Who gave in and bowed their heads, 

As they handed over their guns.

Padraig Pearse, Thomas Clarke, 

Thomas McDonagh, Joseph Plunkett, 

Thomas Ashe, Eamon Ceant, 

Are names of only some people who saw dark.

De Valera wasn’t shot, 

However his is a different story to tell, 

He was left to watch, 

In a dark prison cell.

James Connolly, 

He was beaten terribly, 

He was strapped to a chair 

And he was shot mercilessly.

Seven years it took, 

For his dream of Ireland to come into action, 

But even 1923 was only the start, 

Of a 26 county Ireland and the other six’s reaction.

This story is of a man 

Who fought through pain and hurt,

And all that is left of him

Is his courage and his shirt.

Comments about this page

  • A very well written and historically interesting poem.

    By Sinéad Ní Shúilleabháin (28/04/2014)

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