Four Poems shortlisted for Reclaim 16 Poetry Competition

After much deliberation from our Four Judges, Catherine Ann Cullen, Ciaran Carty and Louis de Paor ( assisted by Prof. Michael Cronin as languages’ advisor) we now have the four poems which will receive prizes, the overall winner will be announced on Friday 17th June, 2016 in Buswells Hotel Dublin. We would like to thank all entrants in the competition which proved to be very popular indeed.

Keep up to date with details of the event in Buswells via our facebook page Reclaim 16 which will be updated from the event on Friday.


Great-grandmother, Grainne


Carved with the crevices of time and history,

Her face was a rocky precipice.

Each generation since seemed diminished.


Put to sit with her, you didn’t fidget,

Didn’t speak.  Tight-lipped, she’d stare into the fire,

Far eyes that resisted the distance back.


Her room behind the front porch was a shut door.

Unless a rare errand up the stone step,

Let you push the metal latch, open a glimpse.


A three-mirrored vanity fanned the lattice,

Its mahogany laid over with lace,

A squat white bottle of Anaïs Anaïs.


Brooches, trinkets, letters with strange stamps.

The faded sepia of a man,

A pack of cigarettes in a drawer.


Trust relics, God, the Pope, the dead.

Sing to those that died for Ireland,

Her own stories she’d never bequeath.


Words spoken can curl into consequence,

Stories a territory better kept close,

Brought with her to the hillside at Cruagh.

By Sinead Griffin


Easter Mourning

In sighed awl red, now read and bleed if you must and you must

Foresee in this, you can believe that we can see that we can seed

That we can cede, we can concede

You must believe we can achieve some greater good beyond this hood

Beyond this little minded… call it what you… Crips against the Bloods

The Catholic, the Protestant

The state of meant, the state of should

The state of you, the state of me

The state of liber-fucking-ty

Who’s fooling who, hear people’s rights?


I don’t see you making a change

Are you talking to me?

Annnnd that’s what it comes down to see

Our parents broke their backs in bits so that we could be safe and warm

And sheltered from the same old storm

And that’s been raging since the day and before then, when I was born

And before we let it rage, we’re in a cage, blind little rats

The fuckers watch us spend our lot and toy our wounds like feral cats

Not skinny either, Fucker’s fat

Believe in that, Cause that’s a fact

Controlling you – Controlling me

Is this the land here of the free?

I don’t feel free , I don’t feel safe

Ahh start again, deny the rape

And round and round and round we go

And poor befuddled stupid Joe and stupid Jill

Who pays the bill?

We always will

Until, you see, until you be

I don’t want another child here

To need to need to plead to be

What?! We leave this proud history

Until these fields that we have sown

Renounce this shit, denounce, disown

But we don’t learn – we think we earn

But all we do is bury me, and bury you

And that’s the truth

It’s time to get up now – That’s the alarm

Get up t’fuck


By Derek Collins


Death of Cuchulainn?

Like the Pieta, the statue is impossible;

as such an angle the body could not

be held by those bindings, by sinews,

or be the sword-arm that circles the rock.

Generations of loss and fore-knowledge

of overwhelming force, too bravely dismissed,

strain for balance in the body’s canted form.

Is there a flicker left to keep the fight alive,

as Prometheus tried to survive the rage of gods

thrown into vengeful confusion by his valour?

Despite the terrible slump of head, a hero

does not die completely even when leached

of war frenzy or when the scald-crow leaves

the black cavern and descends in final betrayal

with a wounding kiss of its tainted beak,

and sword and shield begin to slip from grasp

and with them all inspiring urges of the heart.

Where the heroism in an empire winning?

Victors know one thing; the defeated many things

among them this: every war is won as well as lost.

Was it mere drama to unveil the deeper truth

to observers lining the road to Calvary? Even so,

it will suffice if the promise of revival holds.


By Michael Casey



Ní thugann staraithe le fios

cé acu ar shil sé deor

in aghaidh an ghunna.


Luaitear an phaidir

a thit go tripallach óna bhéal

an chros chéasta ina lámh

an chrógacht ina shúil.

Deirtear gur mhaith sé

lucht a riaghtha

gur fháiltigh go lúcháireach

roimh pharrthás

cinnteacht an tslánaithe

dó féin is dá thír.


Samhlaím gur chrith a chroí ann

gur réabadh a intinn,

go riabh an t-allas fuar

a shil o bhallaí Chill Mhaighnean

ag lonrú ar chlár a éadain,

déarfainn gur lúb a ghlúin

gur scaoileadh a mhún

sa bhodhránacht chruaidh sin

gur chorraigh a cholainn

le haithreachas

go dtabharfadh sé a anáil bheo

ar shlí amach.


Breast iad a dhéanann mórtas as gaisce éaga

tá sé furasta bás a fháil, shílfeá.

Mo cheol thú, a reibiliúnaí,

tusa a chrom roimh an eagla

a chúlaigh tamall in aghaidh na himní

ach fós a d’aimsigh misneach

le cloigeann agus cos a ardú.


Coinneofar do chuimhne

ní i searmanais nósúla stáit

ach i scríob umhal mo phinn.

By Proinsias Mac A’Bhaird

Poetry Winner To Be Announced


Reclaim 16 is delighted to advise that, following several rounds of consultations and deliberations, the judges in the Reclaim ’16 Poetry competition have now agreed on the winning poems. The overall winner will be announced on Friday 17th June,2016 in Buswells Hotel @ 5. The winning poems will published both here and on our website on Friday. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the entrants for their poems and for their patience. We would also like to thank the judges, Catherine Ann Cullen, Ciaran Carty and Louis de Paor along with Professor Michael Cronin as Languages’ Advisor. The competition is the last of Reclaim 16’s events for the centenary year, so with that in mind we would like to say a huge thank you to all who have supported the project over the last year and to those who participated and helped in the of course of planning the hugely successful Parade on the 24th April, 2016. We could not have done it without all of you who gave up your time so freely for this initiative and its success.

Reclaim 16 President Robert Ballagh, Secretary Mags O Brien, Treasurer Margaret Urwin, Betty Purcell, Noirin Greene, Sandra Stapleton, Tom Cooper, Frank Keoghan, Tommy McKearney, Michael Quinn, Eugene McCarton, Paul McGuill, & Frances Black.