Telephone call came at five,
To tell her he’d died
At four thirty,
Died in his sleep peacefully.
She listened in the darkness,
It was morning,
But it lightness wouldn’t come,
For four more hours.
She made a cup of tea,
Sat in the quiet of the kitchen,
Everything was quiet now,
So she made lists of who to call.
It was two hours before she would call
The three children,
Let them sleep in the quietness,
Let them lie like she used to.
She stopped herself from saying
“when he was alive”
Now she’d have to get used
To thinking of him — dead, not here.
Not here, lifeless, not here
Anymore, no more,
But he lived, he had a life,
I am his wife I am here.
He did good things, but he is not here.
No more, any more. No more.
Not here anymore, no more.
It will be light, it will be morning.
Written for my sister Maeve who is here.
Maeve who is always here.
When the Cadman’s arrived in Northern Ireland in the early 1960’s, the Roman Catholic population did not have political representation. They had the vote but the choice on offer to them was Protestant Unionist parties. The UK Labour Party was not allowed to set up its stall in Northern Ireland and Unionism was all powerful in the six counties. Roman Catholics were exposed to a hate environment extolled by Unionists. Housing conditions were poor, unemployment rife as was poor health.
Keith set up the Derry Branch of the Northern Ireland Labour Party, which was then taken over by Ivan Cooper and together with John Hume set up the SDLP along with other quiet men and women. They saw that political representation would lead to full emancipation for the Catholic population — Keith Cadman was one of those quiet men who worked behind the scenes, but whose quiet work in the end moved mountains. It should be remembered.
Without the SDLP and John Hume the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement wouldn’t have taken place.
We have a reason to be proud of quiet men.
We have a reason to be proud of the women who stood at their backs through it all.