A Partial Epitaph
My friend, with many an article and book
saved in the Cloud, would censure Robert Emmet
for attitudinising in the dock.
We’re most of us the beneficiaries
of ordered states; opinion-formers wanting
Emmet stopped is something that one sees.
But this rant? Picture him in middle age,
pardoned, respectable, like Thomas Moore
a frequent guest at the Vice-Regal Lodge.
Which to begin with doesn’t get Tom Moore,
friend of the stranger, dining with Zacchaeus,
his harp a bow strung for the indigenous poor.
I leave them to it – their vast carelessness,
their Twitter feeds correct and comfortable
above the whole world’s pitiable distress.
Those by whom Robert Emmet was condemned
no doubt imagined some long-term improvement
in how the poor lived. Difficult for them,
his edge, his relevancy; or to foretell,
in cabins and coffin-ships we’d breathe his name;
our grá for justice his memorial.
Feature Image: Depiction of Robert Emmet’s trial (I