07 February 2019

#7 - Not Conquered Yet

Countess Constance Markievicz – Irish rebel, socialist countess, and first woman elected to Parliament (1868-1927)

Where once you glided forth in muslin gowns,
You wear your uniform with dash and pride.
Where others seek approval, you court frowns;
You’ll not let any fool cut short your stride.

You’ll use – and teach – all skills that come your way;
Sew flags, haul coals, and teach young folk to fight.
And from this stubborn path you will not sway,
Though time and time again constrained from light.

Your bodycount consumes my current thought,
Though I can’t fault your constancy to cause,
And no-one can deny how hard you fought:
Sínn Fein Amháin you gained despite the flaws.

I’ll laud your fire but will not sing your song
And pray the flames it fed won’t rage too long.


“Sínn Fein Amháin” means “Ourselves Alone” in Irish Gaelic - the slogan of various Irish nationalist movements, including the Home Rule campaign. In the Ulster accent it sounds roughly like “Shin Fain Ahvain”.

Massive thanks to various poets (including the rest of the 28 Sonnets Later collective) who gave me feedback and advice on this, especially Serin Thomasin who basically rewrote the penultimate line for me (and then I messed with it again).

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