#OTD in 1981 – Day 8: Bobby Sands recorded his diary for the first seventeen days of his hunger strike in which he detailed his thoughts and feelings on the momentous task that lay ahead of him.

In a few hours time I shall be twenty-seven grand years of age. Paradoxically it will be a happy enough birthday; perhaps that’s because I am free in spirit. I can offer no other reason.

I was at Mass today, and saw all the lads minus their beards, etc. An American priest said Mass and I went to Communion. One of the lads collapsed before Mass, but he’s all right now. Another was taken out to Musgrave military hospital. These are regular occurrences.

I am 60.8 kgs today, and have no medical complaints.

I received another note from my sister Bernie and her boyfriend. It does my heart good to hear from her. I got the Irish News today, which carried some adverts in support of the hunger-strike.

There is a stand-by doctor who examined me at the weekend, a young man whose name I did not know up until now. Little friendly Dr Ross has been the doctor. He was also the doctor during the last hunger-strike.

Dr Emerson is, they say, down with the ‘flu… Dr Ross, although friendly, is in my opinion also an examiner of people’s minds. Which reminds me, they haven’t asked me to see a psychiatrist yet. No doubt they will yet, but I won’t see him for I am mentally stable, probably more so than he.

I read some wild-life articles in various papers, which indeed brought back memories of the once-upon-a-time budding ornithologist! It was a bright pleasant afternoon today and it is a calm evening. It is surprising what even the confined eyes and ears can discover.

I am awaiting the lark, for spring is all but upon us. How I listened to that lark when I was in H-5, and watched a pair of chaffinches which arrived in February. Now lying on what indeed is my death bed, I still listen even to the black crows.




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