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The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

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Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

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Dublin Opinion
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting

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Bloody Sunday Derry - Recalled From The 'South'

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | opinion/analysis author Friday October 11, 2019 15:45author by mike Mac Domhnaillauthor email mikemacd6 at gmail dot comauthor address Lána na Dáire/Daar Laneauthor phone 0834803811 Report this post to the editors

This is poem responding to Bloody Sunday 1972 and published in collection "Mac Baintrí - Widow's Son". (I have two other publications: Macalla Maidu(Coiscéim) and Sifting(Liberties Press)). I have copyright.

Relating material to Thomas Kinsella's "Butcher's Dozen" and Séamus Deane's response and certain other poets lack of response.

Bloody Sunday Derry 1972 - Recalled from the ‘South’

1. The Dublin March

We marched in the sun,
in the cold, cold sun
on a frosty day in ’72:
injustice done
once more, once more
and Irish people
again laid low.
What could we do
but thump the air
with strident chant:
Overcome, overcome –
in distant league
with The Reverend King.

But now we jostled
in the cold,
There it is!
The Embassy!
bastards, hoors,
at the windows
smiling (we’re sure
we saw them smiling)
at the Irish mob
giving vent to rage,
the croppies lie dead
in Derry town
Sweet Doire Cholmcille
transfixed with pain

The balls of snow bounced back
but soon a stone replaced the ice
and a tinkling splinter rose a cheer
What could we do, what could we do

That night I came to see the shell
of Britain’s Embassy in my land
and smelt the smoke-sweet smell
of a people risen.

2. Some Years On

Today I met some who recall
but choose to forget
that fitful surge in our veins
when for a few hours defiant
we said what we felt in our hearts
before we left it all
to the taigs in occupied land
and got on with getting on,
the heart on the sleeve
replaced in the bag
of the flat clean-out,
Bob Dylan, Van The Man
playing us onto the street,
back to the middle
and there to settle,
quietly regretting
an uncivilised act,
eschewing the terms
‘Six Counties’, ‘Occupied Land’,

observing the Cruise O’Brien line
blocking out all but the State let in,
Sixties children quiet and wimp,
the British troops had won again.

3. New Inquiry 1998

But not with all –
they march again –
and today at last
open up the can:
what Saville will hear
we can but hope
will clear the names
of those they shot.
The truth may dawn
upon us all,
reading our ‘Sundays’,
mowing the lawn.

4. The Slow March 2012

So, forty years now,
give or take,
exhausted, we haul our barricade
to Ballymurphy
and trundle on
to Dublin-Monaghan,
the cold
seeping up at our feet.
How long more
do we have to wait?
Always too much,
always too long.

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