The Cavehill (for Des O’Hagan)

The audience attending a commemoration event for Des O'Hagan singing 'The Internationale' in Liberty Hall, Dublin, 20th June 2015.

We walk the streets of hate that in our hearts
remain our streets of dreams regardless
We keep a castle of resolve and light
high above the lough’s embrace.

It is for us to mark how hatred
draws the borders round
the common cage of these exploited;
these twins who say they are not brothers,
these makers of the world
who will not share its bread or light
or even the sweetness of their children.

It is for us to walk the frozen zones
where death comes in a bang of hate
that burns the memories of the taken
into broken-hearted blood-red bricks.

It is for us to catch and shape
the agony of the wasted ghosts
into redeeming brotherhood
on the streets where hate insults the dream.

Boss and priest and king beware
our hearts of seasoned oak
but even more beware
the goodness of our hearts of flesh.

Beware you fat embitterers
you traitors to all hearts of flesh
who sow your hate
to reap our common gold.

“So listen to our dream,” we call again.
“You twins indeed are brothers.
And each will never know himself
if he will not know the other.”

This poem was written and dedicated to Des by his comrade Noel McFarlane in the early 1990s.