Sunday, 22 June 2014

Gerry Conlon

In between news of the European Union
And the World Cup latest scores
They reported your death
At the age of sixty
Mentioning in passing
The fifteen years
You spent in custody
For something that you didn’t do.

A brief clip of your release was shown
Prison thin and long haired
Denim clad, shaking with emotion
With someone in the crowd shouting
Something incomprehensible
It sounded like a groan of pain
Then they showed Tony Blair
Apologising for what you went through

Then you again in later life
Heavier now with shorter hair
But still emotional
Saying it wasn’t easy
That you still woke up sweating
There was some mention of other problems
And that you tried to help others
Who had suffered injustice

At law school when you stood trial
We argued about your case
In dreary seminar rooms
Feelings were high and divided
I recall the arguments spilled out
Into eating areas and coffee bars
Causing us to miss lectures

After we graduated
And got on with our lives
It was easy to forget all this
But for you even after release
The scraping of keys in locks
Remained in your memory
Unlike the tinkle
Of university crockery
Being cleared away.

© David Subacchi

David Subacchi was born in Wales of Italian roots. He is a well known poet especially in Wales and the North West of England. His English language collections ‘First Cut’ (2012) and ‘Hiding in Shadows’ (2014) have both been published by Cestrian Press.