‘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.
Photo: Celtic Cross by Trish Punch Photography