For Ilhan by Liz McManus of PEN na hÉireann

Each day, walking beside the sea,
I think of what it means to be unfree.
  
A winter sea can terrorise the shore
And put at risk the trawlerman and sailor.
  
Their choice is stark: they must be brave
Until the sea settles again, wave on wave.
  
In a Turkish prison, you are braver still,
Long years have failed to break your will.                                                                
  
Inside you, a secret place survives:
The cosmos where your poetry thrives. 

Liz Mcmanus is a novelist and poet and member of Irish PEN. She is former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and was a columnist with Sunday Tribune. Winner of the Hennessy Short Story Award and many other literary prizes, she has spent her life writing and serving in politics, including representing the people of Wicklow for 9 years as a Labour County Councillor. One of her latest publications is The Shadow in the Yard (2015) which is set in Letterkenny and Derry in 1969 during the “Troubles”.

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