Do Not Take Sides

Born in poverty in the midst of the famine

Evicted from his home when four years old

Lost an arm working in a factory aged only ten

Turned his mind to reading and learning

Joined the IRB

A burning cause inside him

To set Ireland free


Who wouldn’t feel the cause of liberty?

When oppression like potato blight

Has withered all you want to be

A one-armed waif

Astray in Haslingden


Condemned to fourteen years

He served full seven

Often in isolation

Fed on gruel

Took up the cause of every impoverished man

South Africa and Scotland

Wherever man eats man

And then back home the Land League

Landlords be gone!

Remembered now in Mayo

A proud Mayo son


And then he tells the painter

Do not take a side

After all his energy

Fighting far and wide

The old man saw a wisdom

Do not attack the foe

It only provokes rebuttal

Not the way to go


There was a wisdom that they found

Boycott is the name

If your opponent will not change

Have nothing to do with same


This the word of Jesus

Try to come to terms

If it fails withdraw your self

As if avoiding germs


Suppose now (here a hobby horse)

Suppose in ‘39

Instead of declaring war

We had bided our time

Have nothing to do with Hitler

But guard against his threat

And see what then becomes of him

When we stay out of it


Brian Fahy

20 September 2022


+ The teaching of Jesus is to seek agreements and peace, and if the other refuses, then have nothing more to do with him. Britain declared war on Germany when we were in no position to do anything about it, except be at war. We painted ourselves into a corner.

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