Another Sunday. Wet. Like that morning
last year when, lazily, I switched on
the TV only to be shocked
by the news of Diana’s car crash.
Or, that other Sunday long ago now
when I looked up from playing with toy cars
at the newsflashes from Derry,
a clergyman cowering with a bloody hankie.
Or that Friday my dad came home late
from Belfast, mayhem at the bus station
next to the cattle market he’d gone to.
Or the Saturday when I was a kid
when our shopping for new Sunday clothes
was interrupted by tremors, buildings vaporised
and a trapped woman succumbed to smoke.
Or some other days, without number…
This time, it’s three innocent children
burned in their beds, a sectarian attack.
I sneer at the newscaster describing them as Catholic:
why label anybody by their perceived religion
when that’s what the bigots’ mindset amounts to?
I don’t know what those boys would’ve thought,
but if it happens that I become a victim
I hope someone speaks out against
ascribing a tag that blurs personal identity.
The Chief Constable confirms they weren’t statistics;
yet I know some on the one side who’ll doubt
his sincerity, and some on the other side
who’ll not give a damn because it’s not their own
who’ve died, who’ll be glad, so choked with spite.
A week of rioting already and I’ve driven
to and from the city each day
but all I’ve seen of the trouble is the remains
of tyres and pallets, melted road tar,
heard helicopters hovering in the air.
Yet, on my TV screen heroes in hoods
parade bravely, battle proudly,
heedless of the chain of cause and effect
connecting them to charred corpses, implicating
all of us in an intricate web of liability.
My window groans, assaulted by ferocious rain.