Published on Academy of American Poets (


Sex and history. And skin and bone.
And the oppression of Sunday afternoon.
Bells called the faithful to devotion.

I was still at school and on my own.
And walked and walked and sheltered from the rain.

The patriot was made of drenched stone.
His lips were still speaking. The gun
he held had just killed someone.

I looked up. And looked at him again.
He stared past me without recognition.

I moved my lips and wondered how the rain
would taste if my tongue were made of stone.
And wished it was. And whispered so that no one
could hear it but him. Make me a heroine.


"Heroic" reprinted in A Poet's Dublin by Eavan Boland. Copyright © 2014, 1998 by Eavan Boland. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.


Eavan Boland

Eavan Boland was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1944. One of Ireland's preeminent contemporary poets, she is the author of A Poet's Dublin (Carcanet Press, 2014) and A Women Without a Country (W. W. Norton, 2014), among others. She died on April 27, 2020.

Date Published: 2016-10-01

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