At Sir Roger Casement’s Funeral
Irish history trivia.
Who was the only one of the 1916 rebels
that had a State funeral?
along the crowded streets
to his funeral Mass at the Pro-Cathedral.
When I was five
I asked our neighbor Cassie Murray
Why she called her dog ‘Sir Roger?’
She answered me in Irish.
But later she said:
‘Sir Roger Casement was
the greatest martyr for Ireland.’
I ran for the Casement running team in Belfast
and represented our Club team at his funeral.
I took the train from Belfast
and with fifty thousand others I joined
the cortege along O’Connell Street.
I waited as the gun carriage,
with his coffin, halted outside the GPO.
The aging de Valera took the salute
and in this silence I knew history was made.
Return of the Natives
Maghera bus stop is nowhere
near the center of the town.
A huge crowd waited
for the Express to Dublin.
My brother and I live in Canada
and we waited in line
as the driver took his time
– he packed suitcases
and collected fares.
It seemed everybody had a free pass
or some kind special rate.
We asked about a discount rate
for seniors. Then
in a loud Belfast accent
he roars out so everyone can hear.
‘Dere is a discount rate indeed,
but not for you pair of boyos.
Yossuns are not from here.’
Michael Boyle is a native of Lavey, Derry, Ireland. His poems have appeared in the The Antigonish Review, Dalhousie Review, Tinteán and New Ulster Writing. He was awarded ‘The Arts and Letters’ prize for poetry in 2014 by the government of Newfoundland and Labrador. He currently lives in St John’s New Foundland where he conducts a historical walking tour, see www.boyletours.com