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Poetry - Ulick O'Connor: A bond between brothers


Patrick Pearse

Patrick Pearse

Patrick Pearse

Someone who has been left out in writing the history of the 1916 Rising is Willie Pearse, Patrick's brother.

Willie, two years younger, was a magnificent sculptor. You can see his superb statue 'Mater Dolorosa' (Mother of Sorrows) in the Mortuary Chapel of St Andrew's Church on Westland Row.

Willie, a quiet, gentle type, worshipped Patrick. He taught history in St Enda's Irish-speaking school in Rathfarnham, founded by his brother.

Curiously enough, St Enda's had a reputation for boxing which Pearse had encouraged. He was a devotee of the martial art and had taken the time to polish his boxing skills on trips to America.

The close bond between the two brothers is caught in this exquisite and unexpected poem by Patrick in which he talks about his affection for Willie and how much the separation from him actually meant.


Here in Ireland,

Am I, my brother,

And you far from me

In gallant Paris,

I beholding

Hill and harbour,

The strand of Howth

And Slieverua's side,

And you victorious

In mighty Paris

Of the limewhite palaces

And the surging hosts;

And what I ask

Of you, beloved,

Far away

Is to think at times

Of the corncrake's tune

Beside Glasnevin

In the middle of the meadow,

Speaking in the night;

Of the voice of the birds

In Glenasmole

Happily, with melody,

Chanting music.

Patrick Pearse 1879-1916

Indo Review