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Thursday, 4 October 2012

"Mickey Gaughan"

Today (October 4th) would have been Mickey’s birthday. I offer this, not in hopes of resurrecting ‘the troubles’ but perhaps as a very small gesture towards reconciliation.

“Mickey Gaughan”

Mickey Gaughan and me 
Singing Rebel songs 
Deep into the night.
He’d play his records 
And I’d shout from the window
“Louder, Mickey, louder!”
We’d sing “Kevin Barry”
That I learned from
Tony Barry of Ennis
In County Clare.
Then “Brennan on the Moor”
And “They’re Hanging Men and Women
For The Wearing of the Green”
And while we loved
The raucous, militant
Songs of Rebellion
We also loved the quieter 
More poignant ones.
Like “The Foggy Dew”
Whose sweet words 
I first learned on the pillow
Of Beautiful Nonie Collins
Of Dublin Town.
And we’d finish with the haunting
“Glory-o Glory-o 
To the Bold Fenian Men”


I was never one of
The Brotherhood
And never would be.
I could not agree
With bombing civilians. 
Mickey knew that
And respected it too.
But we both had 
Deep convictions
About the ‘Rights of Man’
And the rights of men
To fight for their freedom.
And we loved the old songs
That told of the struggle
And man’s love of home
And family and freedom.

Apart from close family
I was probably 
The last friendly face
Mickey saw
Before they took him away
And murdered him!
“What’s up, Mickey?” I asked.
“They’re taking me
Across the road,” he replied,
“And I don’t think
They’ll let me come back!”
And true to their word
They didn’t!


You were a good friend
And neighbour, Mickey
And oh how I loved
The music we shared.
You were a good soldier
And you paid the
Ultimate price
For your beliefs.
If you didn’t achieve
Everything you fought for
You did put an end
To Force Feeding!
That most barbaric
And hideous of tortures!
And political prisoners 
For generations to come
Should thank you
For that!
And every Englishman 
In whose name
Such tortures
Were carried out,
Should thank you too!
I Thank you!


Goodbye old friend
I needn’t tell you 
I liked you well.
You the dedicated
And bold Volunteer
Me the ex Corporal British Army.
Perhaps we should
Have been enemies
But we,  both common men,
Found more that spoke of brotherhood
Than enmity
More common ground
Than differences
As we both suffered
Under Perfidious Albion’s 


I just wish
They’d written
A better song
About you than
“Take me back to Mayo!”
One that captured
The poetry of the Irish soul 
And the ‘Terrible Beauty’
To be found in the songs
We loved to sing
Window to window
In the night!
I am proud
To have known you
And to have called you 
Glory-o, Glory-o to you,
You Bold Fenian Man


R.I.P. Michael Gaughan 
5th October 1949 ~ 3rd June 1974
Soldier of the Irish Republican Army
Hunger Striker
Son and Brother

Copyright © Res JFB 5th October 2012