Those verses surfaced thirty years ago when the time seemed edging to a better time,
most public voices tamed,
those loud untamed as seasonal as tawdry pantomime,
and over my companionable land placenames still lilted like a childhood rime.
The years deceived;
our unforgiving hearts,
by myth and old antipathies betrayed,
flared into sudden acts of violence in daily shocking bulletins relayed,
and through our dark dream-clotted consciousness hosted like banners in some black parade.
Now with compulsive resonance they toll:
Banbridge, Ballykelly, Darkley, Crossmaglen,
summoning pity, anger and despair, by grief of kin,
by hate of murderous men till the whole tarnished map is stained and torn,
not to be read as pastoral again.