An east wind ripples the dead canal,
tosses fried-chicken boxes on Monaghan Street,
sweeps up to rocky Altnaveigh
where blood soured whitewashed walls

in 1922; along the mountain
the whins shiver. Now (the Brits tell us)

this furze will symbolise the victims
of thirty years of murder, bright

yellow petals will soften suffering
by hinting at regeneration.

Once, by the Omeath Road oil-tanks
at dusk, I stepped on a dead rat.


Frank Aiken
Educated at Newry CBS. Joined the Irish Volunteers in 1914. Became commandant of 4th Northern Division of IRA in 1921 and led many operations against the British forces. Extract from Radio Telefeis Eirann site about Frank Aiken who first became a Minister in the Dublin government in 1932 and held several ministerial posts until 1969. Also a bigwig at the United Nations. In 1922 he organised the slaughter of six Protestant civilians at Altnaveigh, near Newry. They were Thomas Crozier - farmer - aged 67, Elizabeth Crozier - his wife, John Heslip - farmer - aged 59, Robert Heslip - his son - aged 19, James Lockhart - aged 23, and Joseph Gray - aged 20. None had even the remotest connection with the British forces. They were murdered in full view of their families, including children. RTE obviously needs to employ a few intelligent researchers. Mind you, Irish freedom fighters and Protestant paramilitaries are very different to Al Qaeda terrorists, aren't they?