But when the time comes,
When the clock hits seven.
A new energy emerges that lifts the comrades to their feet.
Like their forefathers of 1916,
They will never retreat.
As the regiment makes its journey,
They are slowed by the wounded.
Some whose minds are led astray
Must be convinced their cause is just.
Over treacherous tracks and wide-open roads,
The staggering unit gets all men across.
Once again Michael Kelly assimilates his group of drinking companions to that of “their forefathers of 1916”. They too are beckoned to duty once 7am strikes just like the Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers were beckoned to duty on Easter Monday. Kelly also shows the strength that fighting for one’s country can give to a man “a new energy emerges”. Many of those taking up arms to fight in 1916 knew they were most likely going to die but fighting for their country under the direction of visionaries such as Pearse and Connolly gave them a strength and an energy that comes only when one fights for something bigger than oneself. Their previously mortal body now becomes immortal as it represents Ireland’s fight for freedom. Whether or not their physical body perishes does no longer matter. It is the action which they take that is important as it is a necessary step for Ireland's future.
Kelly’s battle however, is one with alcohol. He and his friends are fighting to reach the early house to continue on this marathon of drinking which more than likely started early the evening before. As their “regiment makes its journey” towards the public house, Kelly recalls the struggles they encountered along the way. “They are slowed by the wounded”. It is understood that here Kelly was referring to one of his friends who was vomiting along the way causing the rest of the group to wait and ensure he could continue. Kelly recalls how another one of the group whose mind is “led astray” wants to give up and talks of returning home. Returning home is not an option for these men just as it was not an option for the brave men of the Easter Rising. Kelly refuses to let any of his men falter, “they will never retreat”.
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