Citizenship. A New Civic Flag for Belfast. Nos 6.
This poem relates to the previous article, Citizenship Nos 5.
The second year I went to the Gothenburg Irish Festival, 1998. I brought a collection of 14 poems entitled “Dam Bursting”.
I was there, primarily, to deliver an illustrated talk called “The Book of Yerdagh and My Da too.” (Image attached.)
This Irish Festival in Sweden was run by a friend of mine called Jonathan McCullough, a Presbyterian Bodhrán player, from Belfast, training to be a doctor with a great love of Irish music and culture, because, like me, he felt he was an “Irish-Man”.
This way of thinking is beyond politics, beyond street politics, beyond violence. Not out of reach of these things or better than them, but just far, far ahead in its positive approach to communicating with your neighbour, your countryman and your brother or sister.
(With apologies to any aggressive feminists . . .)
Dark cluster of smoke.
Unglamorous THUMP of sound.
No Phoenix rises from these ashes.
Just ordinary , grey acrid smoke,
In its supermarket surroundings.
We round the corner.
And walk into the force of the BOMB.
My friends and I.
B. B. boys on their way to a church hall.
Just the utter waste of it all.
All because of the BOMB.
Lucky, this time.
Others not so lucky,
With another BOMB just down the road
On BLOODY FRIDAY
( the forgotten other side of the BLOODY SUNDAY coin )
Just part of the days twisted carnage,
At Cavehill Road shops, Belfast.
Undiscriminating in its harvest sweep.
Cutting here, slicing there.
Chopping up people’s hopes.
Divourcing those it meets
From their lives and their families.
Mining politics with its rage.
I wish you had no timer.
But there you rest in all of us
Sectarian VIRUS just waiting for the right
The BOMB within all of us.
The BOMB we refuse to recognise,
That we plant in others.
That we prime in innocent children.
They carry our hatred forward for us.
Do our dirty work for us,
When we are gone. They are our BOMB.
We set the timer in our children
Then scuttle away .
That BOMB of vile hatred, we pass
Like Pass the Parcel.
With fingers crossed and hoping
It won’t explode in our faces,
We infect our off spring
And set the trip switch.
When you meet a BOMB
It leaps forward, rushing to meet you.
To shake your hand
And take your life.
Smiling in all its darkness,
It is a mirror of
It is us . . .
The BOMB within us.
Reflecting all the hatred.
That hides away, back in the shadows.
Planted by whom?
Our parents, our grandparents?
Our religious leaders?
Was it you?
Who was it?
Who planted the BOMB ?
Copyright 8th May, 1997.
Dedicated to those actively working for PEACE in Northern Ireland.