after P.H. Pearse

I grudge them—
more than any of you will ever know—
my two strong sons
and their stupid, bloody protest.

I have cried all day and all night,
every day and every night
since then, ever and forever—
no amen on my tongue—

for Pat, our melancholic prophet,
fainting at a drop of blood,
but calling out for insurrection
over an old warrior’s grave.

He set off that morning,
his pawn-shop sword
threatening to catch the spokes
and throw him off his bike.

And Willie. Will, my baby boy—
his big brother’s shadow—
took the tram to town
to throw away his life too.

You must not grieve,
You too will be blessed,

Pat wrote to me
that terrible day.

Blessed. Ha!
I tend the graves.
I feel the burn of lime
on my boys’ flesh.