(all text taken from original document by Richard Kent)
I was called on this night at nine o’clock
by a military chauffer and constable with a motor car.
I hurried on my clothes, fear clutching my heart,
suspected the journey by night was no idle one.
At first I assumed it was myself alone he wished to see
but when we proceeded to my sister, sister-in-law, and brother,
my fears that news was bad
We drove through the black night pouring torrents of rain
challenged at intervals by armed sentries
until Kilmainham Jail loomed up
dark and grim before us.
Inside the gate we were kept in suspense
while keys and lanterns were got
and thence through dark narrow passages
only dimly lighted by candles carried.
Sentries stood idly about.
A prison warden could just be distinguished in the gloom.
We picked our way across to Éamonn’s cell and soon
stood within, clasping his hand.
He was the same calm as always.
Not a sign was there that the advent of moon
and the probable cutting off of his young life
had the slightest effect.
His hair was ruffled
as though he had been thinking deeply,
running his hand through it.
I asked—‘What was the news?’
‘Oh the worst,’ he answered nonchalantly,
then putting his arm around Aine and smiling
said—‘And isn’t it all for the best?’
‘I don’t think so, Éamonn,’ she wound her arms around him.
‘Oh I think it is, all for the best,’ he said.
Two guards stood in the cell all the time.
In a corner was the plank bed,
nearer the door a small table
on which stood a guttering candle
and numerous letters complete for posting.
His mind had been disturbed somewhat
by a visit from the prison chaplain talking trivialities,
who insinuated something might happen during the night;
this conversation was unnerving
as he was quite prepared to die.
We stood aside while they
sat side by side on the lowly bed
talking in whispers
just like the pair of lovers they had always remained.
Our allowance of twenty minutes was nearly spent
so we sat down in a little circle,
him the coolest of us all.
Our janitors were getting impatient.
At last the sentries—‘Time’s up please’—
made us stand for the final parting.
It was hard to realise
it was the last leave-taking.
a simple handshake for us three
and a kiss for Aine
composed our last sad blessings.
On my way out the Commandant said,
no one had any right or reason to even suggest a reprieve,
that Eammon was to be shot in the morning,
and kindly suggested my going back and telling him.
He was standing upright in his cell,
back partly to the door, hands in his pockets
I told him, his friend Father Augustine was coming.
He replied ‘Oh, is that so?’
but in a tone that I since think meant
he knew all hope was gone.
Another handshake, still not a tremor,
and the door clangs between us.
Back into the rain and the night.
This was my last glance at my brother.
The candle was still burning.