In Memoriam – Sean O’Casey

Then there near Devon’s coast the final scene,
And in the fullness of the years, peaceful, serene,
Mellowed with age, no further axe to grind,
The shadows closed upon that fertile mind,
And as the lighting dimmed his twilight age,
Did one stray thought to Dublin find its way,
To the scenes of another day,
Long since before O’Casey left the scene.

‘Twas there in other years he flourished best,
Throughout the struggling times, amid the test
Of poverty and its attendant woes,
The Rising against cruel external foes,
The hard apprenticeship, the unwritten ban,
The knocking on the door, the call ignored,
The experience of being floored,
All helped to shape the writer and the man.

There were many a stand forlorn,
And many a cause was born,
And movements that made history overnight,
He noted each successive flight,
And saw the dawn of freedom long delayed,
The human paths, the inevitable jest,
The notions and the actors that impressed,
His facile pen portrayed.

And then his exit from that scene,
The disillusionment he felt so keen,
The years of exile self-imposed,
The bitter feeling which the years disclosed,
The continued effort from that seaside town,
The world acclaim, the controversial themes,
The fulfilment of his dreams,
Before the final curtain fluttered down.

Then came the closing tragic act,
The final scene, the full impact,
The props discoloured, ne’r again,
The coloured cap, the flowing pen,
A hectic role played long and well,
The time had come to leave the cast,
The play was ending, then at last,
The blinds came down, the curtains fell.

William O’Donnell

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