“Requiem for the Croppies”
The pockets of our greatcoats full of barley…
No kitchens on the run, no striking camp…
We moved quick and sudden in our own country.
The priest lay behind ditches with the tramp.
A people hardly marching… on the hike…
We found new tactics happening each day:
We’d cut through reins and rider with the pike
And stampede cattle into infantry,
Then retreat through hedges where cavalry must be thrown.
Until… on Vinegar Hill… the final conclave.
Terraced thousands died, shaking scythes at cannon.
The hillside blushed, soaked in our broken wave.
They buried us without shroud or coffin
And in August… the barley grew up out of our grave.
Seamus Heaney 13 April 1939 – 30 August 2013
He wrote, beautifully, in memory of our dead. We remember him now with these famous words that have inspired many Wexfordians.
Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam.
Portrait of Seamus Heaney by Paul McCloskey (www.paulmccloskeyart.com)
Pikemen Photo by Pat Sheridan, Wexford Camera Club.