We were like young saplings

except for Madge*

years had given her wisdom

like the oak trees we sang to in the park

and carved our initials deep into the bark

never knowing how much a tree might hurt

nor did we care at the time –

for nothing mattered then that did not rhyme!

as we stood to attention, heads erect, and in line

saluting our fallen dead –

while words from the Proclamation

loudly and proudly were read –

although that prison yard was small, it was

large enough for us to play, parade or silently pray

while breathing fresh air for a limited time each day!

They took our time and caged us in

with only cement and wire,  thinking

that imprisonment would dampen freedoms fire

but neither death nor prison

were enough to shatter freedoms dream

for, we were growing oaks standing side by side

and now almost fifty years but three

I think of each of them a tree –

I hope they think the same of me!

*Madge was the oldest female internee; wife, mother and grandmother and pensioner.

Names of all the female internees in Armagh Prison 1973-75

Liz McKee, Teresa Holland, Ann Walsh, Angela Nelson, Marie Delaney, Colette Mulvenna, Marian Friel, Ann Doherty, Brenda Cassin, Roseleen Watson, Margaret Shannon, Kate White, Briedge Mc Phillips, Lilian Kelly, Anne Marie Mc Williams, Evelyn Gilroy, Mary Kennedy, Geraldine O Neill, Geraldine Mc Cann, Julia Trainor, Moya Hennessy, Kate Finnigan, Margaret Barr, Annette Kennedy, Rossini’s O Reilly, Deirdre Flynn, Mary Robinson, Mairead Taggart, Madge Mc Conville, Gerri Cavanagh, Claire Delaney, Geraldine Taylor, Jean Delaney, Naula Tully, Eileen Delaney, Madeline Moore.

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