Home Thoughts....

At a distance, it was hard to feel
the blank immediacy of shock, the gaps
blasted in lives by bags of nitrate
intended for the increase of the yield
for which they thanked their god each year

in harvest services. The smell
lingered in car-boots after planting,
instead of scenting the good earth
in small fields. The land was fought for
no longer with billhook and plough,

the tools of farmer and quarryman
spawning bomb and ambush,
the seeds of destruction sown
by country folk. And on holidays home
uncertainties returned, the parked car

outside the pub, a bag by the bar
that might be zeroing to the next outrage.
Meanwhile they pretended things were better,
condemned your exile's caution, urged
normal behaviour. They waited indifferently

at roadblocks, avoided politics
in conversation, and showed a grim relief
when the latest victim wasn't one of ours;
features of a strange normality,
in which the meanest casualty was truth.

URL: www.mourne.net/thoughts.htm