First-time poet wins acclaim for tackling bullying

A poem written by 27-year-old Aaron McBride from Newtownforbes has received rave reviews following its posting on www.poetry.com

A poem written by 27-year-old Aaron McBride from Newtownforbes has received rave reviews following its posting on www.poetry.com

The poem which delves deep into the scourge of homophobic bullying and its link to death by suicide has touched the hearts and minds of hundreds of people across the world.

“The words just flow so honestly; the pain is felt so immensely, it touched my heart”, one American wrote, while another reader of the poem stated, “Love the bit, ‘For one day there will be men whom their children will need, and everyday while nurturing them their guilty hearts will bleed’, so real, so true; this needs to be said to the world”.

For Aaron though, the reaction to his work has been overwhelming, having written the poem after years of watching his own gay friend come to terms with his sexuality and overcome the many obstacles along the way.

“When we first posted it on the website, I never expected such a response,” he exclaimed. “I was never bullied, but one day my friends and I were discussing suicide and I suppose we discussed whether it was or wasn’t a selfish act and then I began thinking about my own gay friend; how difficult it was for him to come out and his own personal struggle with being gay. The poem started to take shape in my head from then on.”

Just over a month ago TV3 in conjunction with Anti-Bullying Week ran a series of features on bullying among young people. The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) was involved in the programme and when the Newtownforbes native posted ‘The Bullies’ on www.poetry.com, President, ISPCC Caroline Downey spotted it and was immediately impressed by its depth and enormity.

“Caroline Downey said that she would be interested in using the poem during next year’s anti-bullying week campaign, so that is something that I am delighted about,” Aaron added.

The 27-year-old is currently endeavouring to complete Social Care in Sligo and is a past pupil of the Convent of Mercy, Newtownforbes.