Monday, June 14, 2010

The Ballad of 13



















Bogside, Sunday, red mist calling,
Stumble onto cobbled street,
Bleary, angry, no more falling,
Steady now on swollen feet.

Paras sweating, faces twitching,
Huddled, cursing, in the dark,
Trigger fingers raw and itching,
Barrack rage about to arc.

Placards, banners, clatter, voices,
Heaving surges. Just can’t wait.
Comes the moment for the choices.
Pick the stone. Select your fate.

Batons beating riot black shields,
Visors lowered, hidden eyes,
Tear gas flooding concrete fields,
Enclosing us where feeling dies.

Useless chanting, fractured hymns,
Bloody, bloody, bloody faces,
Bloody broken, bloody limbs,
Desecrated, once safe places.

Cold intention through the gun sight.
Old man dangling, feckless lout,
A bullet’s distance through the night.
Ready! Snuff his lights right out!

Father Daly, ducking, waving,
Bullets screaming round his head,
What’s the point, you ask, in saving
Bodies, when our souls have fled?

Neatly labelled, features flat,
Thirteen corpses stacked like lumber.
No need tell a Derry man that
Thirteen’s an unlucky number.

I don't want you to get the idea that the US and Israeli governments hold the monopoly in state terror. The Brits have been doing it for a long time. 25 years on, no one has been brought to book for these 13 murders.
This was first posted in 2006. I knew, of course, that 14 died as a result of the Paras' action. Tomorrow the Saville Enquiry reports. Will it be any better than the Widgery Whitewash? I notice too, that so many of my Irish brothers and sisters are deeply involved in the movement for a Free Palestine and still prepared to risk their lives for justice.

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