In Memory of My Grandfather, Eddie Hackett (1910-1996)
No mention of an antiquated tank on the pitch
—was that the film version?—or the shots themselves,
only that strangers helped you and your Dad scramble up.
All along the wall, people were dropping into back gardens.
A man was lying on the grass, a bullet in his leg,
the mother and daughter of the house bandaging.
See how it lends itself to cinema? Trauma and homeliness,
tear jerkery of community, all merged in the minutes after.
They rushed you through the lean-to glass house,
through the scullery, past the Pope’s picture, out onto the street.
A frieze of bayonets and World War I helmets
was marching at the canal end. Your Dad grabbed your hand
and you walked in the opposite direction,
joining the now casual individuals exiting many doors.
Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem featured on Poetry as Commemoration jukebox installations in Limerick and Derry from May to July 2023.