Robert Gerard Sands (Irish Roibeard Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh; 9 March 1954 – 5 May 1981) was an Irish Republican who died on hunger strike whilst in prison for the possession of firearms. He had been elected as a Member of Parliament during his fast. While in jail Sands became a writer of poetry.
One Day in My Life (1983)
- I was a skeleton compared to what I used to be but it didn't matter. Nothing really mattered except remaining unbroken. I rolled over once again, the cold biting at me. They have nothing in their entire imperial arsenal to break the spirit of one single Republican political prisoner-of-war who refuses to be broken, I thought, and that was very true. They can not or never will break our spirit. I rolled over again freezing and the snow came in the window on top of my blankets. Tiocfaidh ár lá' (Our day will come), I said to myself, Tiocfaidh ár lá.
- His final diary entry
- "Son," he said, "one day he caught himself on one of his own traps and no one would assist him to get free. Hist own people scorned him, and turned their backs on him. He grew weaker and weaker, and finally toppled over to die upon the land which he had marred with such blood. The birds came and extracted their revenge by picking his eyes out, and the larks sang like they never sang before."
- "The Lark and the Freedom Fighter"
- I was only a working-class boy from a Nationalist ghetto, but it is repression that creates the revolutionary spirit of freedom. I shall not settle until I achieve liberation of my country, until Ireland becomes a sovereign, independent socialist republic.
- Republican News, (16 December 1978)
- The days were long and lonely. The sudden and total deprivation of such basic human necessities as exercise and fresh air, association with other people, my own clothes and things like newspapers, radio, cigarettes books and a host of other things, made my life very hard.
- On his experience in solitary confinement in prison, in An Phoblacht/Republican News (1978), under the pseudonym "Marcella."
- I am standing on the threshold of another trembling world. May God have mercy on my soul.
- Diary entry, (1 March 1981), the first day of his hunger strike, in Skylark Sing your Lonely Song : An Anthology of the Writings of Bobby Sands (1991).
- They won't break me because the desire for freedom, and the freedom of the Irish people, is in my heart. The day will dawn when all the people of Ireland will have the desire for freedom to show. It is then we'll see the rising of the moon.
- Diary entry, (17 March 1981), translated from the original Irish, in Skylark Sing your Lonely Song : An Anthology of the Writings of Bobby Sands (1991)
- There can never be peace in Ireland until the foreign, oppressive British presence is removed, leaving all the Irish people as a unit to control their own affairs and determine their own destinies as a sovereign people, free in mind and body, separate and distinct physically, culturally and economically.
- Vol. Bobby Sands, Provisional Irish Republican Army (1981)
The Rhythm of Time
There’s an inner thing in every man,
Do you know this thing my friend?
It has withstood the blows of a million years,
And will do so to the end.
It wept by the waters of Babylon,
And when all men were a loss,
It screeched in writhing agony,
And it hung bleeding from the Cross.
- Dear Mum, I know you're always there
To help and guide me with all your care,
You nursed and fed me and made me strong
To face the world and all its wrong.
- White walls! White walls! Torturous sprawls,
With ne'er a window space.
And so confined a quaking mind
Goes mad in such a place
The monotony so torturously
Cuts deep into the mind,
That men lose hope and just elope
With charge of any kind.
- Trilogy, pt.1
- It is said we live in modern times,
In the civilised year of 'seventy-nine,
But when I look around, all I see,
Is modern torture, pain and hypocrisy.
- "Modern Times"
- In the gutters lies the black man, dead,
And where oil flows blackest, the streets run red,
And there was He who was born and came to be,
Who lived and died without liberty
- "Modern Times"
- There's rain on the wind, the tears of spirits,
The clink of key on iron is near,
A shuttling train passes by on rail,
There's more than God for man to fear.
- "A Place to Rest"
- The winds of war came sweeping cruel,
The flower would not cry,
Oh, how it broke the freeman's heart,
To see the first rose die.
Some soldiers plucked the garden's joy, And left a burning mark,
Upon the silver petalled bloom,
Now fettered in he dark.
- "Comrades in the Dark"
- And blessed is he man who stands
Before his God in pain
And on his back a cross of woe
His wounds a gaping shame.
For this man is a son of God
And hallowed be thy name.
- Trilogy, pt. 3 "Torture at H Block"
- To dance and prance
Is elegant and neat.
To wine and dine on red port wine
Is such a tasty treat. To eat and sit where you've just shit!
Is not so bloody sweet!
- Trilogy, pt.3
Quotes about Sands
- But who was Bobby Sands? He was an ordinary young Irish man who lived and died in the extraordinary conditions which exist in the occupied part of Ireland. In the course of his short life he came to challenge these unjust conditions in an extraordinary heroic and unselfishly courageous way.
- Gerry Adams, Foreword to Bobby Sands Prison writings
- Bobby Sands Trust, which holds the copyright on his writings.