Friday, 13 March 2009


The awful spectre of killing on the streets of Northern Ireland returned last week, when two soldiers were gunned down and in a separate incident a policeman was shot dead. These events sent a shudder throughout the Province and the wider community on the island of Ireland, as the unthinkable prospect of a return to the ‘Troubles’ became a possibility. Hopefully the huge outcry against these atrocities, especially from the members of Sinn Fein (formerly aligned with the Provisional I.R.A), may yet prove a positive outcome from such tragic events. This poem was written by a lady from N.I. and has a powerful if subtle message of hope for the future. ~GOSh.~


This new map, unrolled, smoothed,
seems innocent as the one we have discarded,
impersonal as the clocks in rows
along the upper border, showing time-zones.

The colours are pale and clear, the contours
crisp, decisive, keeping order.
The new names, lettered firmly, lie quite still
within the boundaries that the wars spill over.

It is the times.

I have been always one for paths myself.
The mole’s view. Paths and small roads and the next bend.
Arched trees tunnelling into a coin of light.
No overview, no sense of what lies where.

Pinning up maps now, pinning my attention,
I cannot hold whole countries in my mind,
nor recognise their borders.

These days I want to trace
the shape of every townland in this valley;
name families; count trees, walls, cattle, gable-ends,
smoke-soft and tender in the near blue distance.

Kerry Hardie

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