Although that chequered life is closed
It sparked a while, and threw its brilliance to the curious throng,
Who when its genius flared still dozed,
And yet were wide awake to human wrong,
Who missed the scintillating rockets skyward bound,
And watched the potty fireworks on the ground.

Yet from that trail fell gems of brightest hue
Some Dublin tale which only he could tell,
A startling narrative by one who knew,
A boretal building and a prison cell,
A buffeting in life, the knocks and jeers,
The stormy passage of the early years.

And yet no bitterness in his uncommon soul
Ere found a place or curbed his giant stride,
By nature marked for a tempestuous role,
The codes of lesser mortals were defied,
But a sudden halting of that wayward flight,
Proclaimed, Alas : the end in sight.

And though it battled on that rebel heart would know
The end was near, the costly toll was taken to the full,
And as its throbbing vibrance became slow,
From out the turbulence there came a lull,
A truce with hectic life, or years denied,
Then Behan found a peace by Liffey’s side.

By William O’Donnell

©2013 The estate of William O’Donnell (Chiswick)