Before it was time to celebrate
Did they aim to emulate
The devastated streets
Resurrect the cold disdain
Of citizens buying fish
In fish shops
Or newspapers
In newsagents
A few small suburbs away?
But what if they were
Speaking out of the mouths of the fishes
Lips freshly torn by the hook
Their dead eyes staring
What if they were
Soaked into the newspapers
Rising like damp up the page
To stain the fingers
What might have happened then?
No, when these good citizens
Came creeping round the corner
Into that theatre of war
The stage still set
The floodlights hot
They had only one focus in mind
They held up their hands
Pointed their lenses
And shot.
Elsewhere the most fortunate
Citizens of this Republic
Sit inside the Gate
And watch
An Englishman raised in Ireland play
An Irishman ruined in Scotland
Only to return
In a catastrophic homecoming
From Wales
Descending down the stage
In parallel with the outer decline
Going down into the depths of himself
Just as they drag
The city down around us
Like a veil
All alarums and sirens wailing
Like a frightened child
While we, the anxious citizenry
Hold our breath
For this Englishman
In his appropriately bright green socks
And wonder
Briefly in the interval
Whether the rage
Has left us
A street to ride home on
Or an opened cage.