Remember When by Gearoid O’Brien

Will we say “Do you remember when…?”
And speak of the times we would rather all forget.
Or will we find a euphemism to hide behind
As we have done so often in the past: for someone
With T.B. they said, had “gone into a decline and died”,
They used the terms: ‘The Big C’ or ‘The Lad’
When the word cancer could not be spoken aloud.
A hundred and fifty long years after the Famine
Our parents still warned us not to waste food
Or “we would follow the crows for it”.
A century after the Spanish Flu they warned us
Not to get wet or we would “catch our death”.
Will we be allowed to remember this grim death toll?
Or will the numbers just be lost and written off?
It is up to us. These are our collective dead,
We owe it to them to “remember when”.

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