Post Script

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.

1984

PoemsPhil Harrison