‘Before The Cold Cross’ © Joe Canning 2016. All Rights Reserved.

‘Before The Cold Cross’
© Joe Canning 2016. All Rights Reserved.

There is a coldness here, a coldness.

Dark are the walls that surround me.

It is a place of chilling ghostliness.

I stop for a prayer at a stone cross.

In isolation it stands, in respectful memory,

it rests on a sacred spot.

Gone are the echoes, gone are volleys,

absent too, the stench of deathly cordite.

gone are the patriots that fell to the salvoes.

I need not speak their names, merely bow.

the silence here is noisy, I hear it speak.

It tells me, ’twas here my freedom was won.

It tells me that there is work to be done.

I have a lesson in history here; one that no

teacher dared to describe to an infant class.

I close my eyes for a moment and imagine.

those that fell here could see nothing either.

A ‘kerchief blotted the light of a last moment.

I imagine again their lifeless knees on concrete;

hands still tied and stains removed by cold rinsing.

Their final blessings, contrition, Heaven’s gateway.

The sun is high but still I stand in this iciness.

I cross myself in preparation for taking my leave.

I will whisper my gratitude, I will teach my children.

Joe Canning’s Poetry Page on Facebook

Photo: Celtic Cross by Trish Punch Photography


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