Remembering Michael Collins who was born on this date in 1890. @JohnnyMcEvoy

‘Ballad of Michael Collins’
(Johnny McEvoy)

The curlew stood silent and unseen in the long damp grass. And he looked down on the road below him that wound its way through Bael na mBlath. And he heard the young men shouting and cursing, running backwards and forwards, dodging and weaving and ducking the bullets that rained down on them from the hillside opposite. Just as quickly as it started, the firing stopped and a terrible silence hung over the valley. A lone figure lay on the roadside, in the drizzling August rain, dressed in green great-coat, leggings and brown hob-nailed boots, that would never again set the sparks flying from the kitchen flagstones, as he danced his way through a half-set. A hurried, whispered act of contrition, and the firing breaks out again. The curlew takes to flight and, as he flies out over the empty sad fields of west Cork with his lonesome call, he must tell the world that The Big Fellow has fallen, and that Michael is gone.

On a far off August day, cold, young men in ambush lay,
On a roadside by a hill where flowers grow;
So much hate for one so young, who was right and who was wrong?
Though a thousand years may pass, we’ll never know.
Candles dripping blood they placed beside your shoulders,
Rosary beads like teardrops on your fingers;
Friends and comrades standing by, in their grief they wonder why,
Michael, in their hour of need you had to go.
And when evening twilight came, gently fell the autumn rain,
Oh, but you lay still and silent on the ground;
As we hung our heads in prayer, in our sorrow and despair,
We wondered was it friend or foe who shot you down?
Candles dripping blood they placed beside your shoulders,
Rosary beads like teardrops on your fingers;
Friends and comrades standing by, in their grief they wonder why,
Michael, in their hour of need you had to go.
Now the flame that you held high when you called out to the sky,
To end this senseless killing and this shame;
Has now passed to other hands and is carried through the land,
By some not fit to even speak your name.
Candles dripping blood they placed beside your shoulders,
Rosary beads like teardrops on your fingers;
Friends and comrades standing by, in their grief they wonder why,
Michael, in their hour of need you had to go.
Michael, in their hour of need why did you go?

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