“Noli timere”, he texted to his wife.
This man who knew so much of life.
Don’t be afraid, have no fear.
These words he gave for us all to hear.
From County Derry he emerged
To dig and plant in the peat
Of our minds.
With his pen and words
He built a scaffold for us to climb
To see beyond our daily strife.
To see the chasm
And build the bridge.
He showed us how to see each joy.
To be prepared and weather each storm.
His life he reflected as a mirror,
And in it we could see our own.
Our common roots, desires
All echoed in his tales of Derry.
We knew the guns, the grenades, the strife
That were the background to that life
In the peat and the class,
Where frogs quickly taught
The boy of their fierce desire for freedom.
His last words, his last gift.
“In the end”, he said to us
“It is nothing that we fear”.
Sharon Heaney Stansfield