Immortal Souls.



This Poem was written for Bonnie Boyle Harvey and her friend Don O’Leary both American descendants of the O’Leary Clan, whose forbears settled in the valleys of South Wales and on the wide open American continent in the late 19th. century. It was conceived as I watched them searching a cemetery for the graves of ancestors on a wind swept hill above a Welsh valley where long ago their ancestors sweated out their lives in the coal mines and the steel mills. There were no monuments, there were no mines, no furnaces, no ancient dwellings, just thoughts and emotions, the earth and the eternal sky. It was written because I was moved by their quest to pay their respects to a forgotten generation that made their lives and those of future generations possible.




Their bodies lie where they were lovingly laid, a hundred years ago

On a hill above the valley, where they lived, loved, laughed and cried

And passed their days and nights within sight of the constant glow

Of furnaces of burning coals and molten steel until the day they died.

Today there is no monument, no wooden cross above their resting place

In what is now a cold and wind swept barren field of poison ivy weeds

No records in the County Hall, no house to view, no image of their face

But there are folks like you and I, who seek to find, to record their deeds.

For we need to understand, just who they were and who we are and why,

Where, how and what it means to live today, as we like they, still pray

To the same God, and breathe his air as we wander beneath that same sky

To share with them for a time, and under which we shall also finally lay.

And in our turn also be forgotten, with the passing of a few short years

We too shall join that very long line, of all the children of Adam and Eve

To lie in sleep till the end of time., see no more grief, shed no more tears,

For to be with God and all his children, is surely why we were all conceived.

And living out our life is the price we pay, to meet with them all in paradise.

Here we are tortured with doubts, with troubled minds, with pain and fears,

But all his children are put to the test, and for all our trials, living is so nice

That we don’t want to die, without leaving our mark or a record of our years.

So a new generation of children, become a living monument to our past.

No pyramids for them, or you, or I, just children to share the eternal sky,

And through each new-born child we shall live again, and again, until at last,

If the promise holds good, we shall all see God and then we will know why.

For we surely have the right to ask him why, so many oppressed Irish folk

Victims of poverty, and an indifferent English State, of crude sectarian hate

In successive generations, had to flee their land and throw off the tyrant’s yoke

And we shall not be alone, but one of the multitude, spared from such a fate.

6th.September 1998