On The Blanket

Mick Hanly

The truth comes as hard as the cold rain
On my face in the heat of a storm
The stories I’m hearing the shock me
To believe that such deeds can go on
You can starve men and take all their clothing
You can beat them up till they fall
You can break the bodies but never the spirit
Of the men on the blanket

The truth should be told so I’ll tell it
It all began five years ago
Kieran Nugent refused to be branded
And refused to wear prison clothes
They threw him in naked to H-Block
And spat out their filthy abuse
And left him awake till the cold light of day
With only a blanket

England your sins are not over
The H-Blocks still stand in your name
And though many voices have cried out to you
It is still your shame
And if we stay silent we’re guilty
While these men lie naked and cold
In the H-Block tonight remember the fight
Of the men on the blanket

For four years this man and his comrades
In shameful conditions did lie
From Dublin indifference and silence
From London contempt undisguised
Though life to these men was precious
A hunger strike protest began
To try to move the hearts of the tyrants who keep
The men on the blanket

How angry the March winds were blowing
As Prisoners of War made their call
With deals and false promises broken
How many more young men must fall?
The people have raised up their voices
The world cries for justice in vain
To end the cruel fortune and the lives to regain
Of the men on the blanket

Tonight as I stand here in Sligo
My heart filled with sorrow and shame
In mourning for young Martin Hurson
His body laid out in Tyrone
This young man had so much to live for
His dying must not be in vain
As we stand here tonight remember the fight
Of the men on the blanket