28th May

(Sullivan) 2021

From this maze of alley-ways you can look up and see the green hills
Grey skies, dry stone walls, stretching all the way the way to the western islands
Where the rebels have the best songs and you know them line by line.
For to have a cause you need an enemy to hand, for all the flags and the banners
And the bullets and the bombs, for you know that the hillsides are inhabited by ghosts of martyrs that must be honoured

And here the clouds roll across the sun – so fast
And the whiskey is neat and thick on the tongue – like blood

As each island is pulled away from one another
In the howling winds and stormy seas, if you have no clan then what are you?
For this is how we dance and this is what we sing
And you can mock it all you like but it cannot be taken
For commemoration bonfires and screeching armoured cars
Driven by frightened men who will never understand
What it’s like to be in fields and put your hand into the sacred soil
And pull up stone after stone after stone

And here the clouds roll across the sun – so fast
And the whiskey is neat and thick on the tongue – like blood

We shared that tiny place with the outhouse at the end of the yard
I had to share your taste in Russian music
I saw how you still carried your soldier’s gait
And I knew that if it came to it, you’d know how to use it
So what did you know, that fateful 28th May?
That you said we shouldn’t go to that place we always went to
Like an angel with steel wings and inside information
And I lived to tell the tale and I barely even asked the question

And the clouds still roll across the sun – so fast
And the whiskey is neat and thick on the tongue – like blood

I put my arms around her waist and felt such desire
But I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into
For it’s the women who carry the burdens and always know too much
And they get to read the signs and always clean the blood


Published by PRS/MCPS

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