by Karl O'Hanlon

d. February 1922 in the Weaver Street bomb

In the end, there is no flower
to pluck for her—Longley,
I only repeat what you nearly
repeated from Thomas’s glowery

‘Refusal’: no songs for dead children.
My great aunt died skipping
in February 1922, a wilderness
of pogrom and babes sleeping

with discreet petals of blood
at their temples; who crazy alley
shadows and B-Specials murdered,
sane policy arranging their elegy;

whose brothers chose to forget
because to remember would salt
the grief of their living after it
all: Uncle Jimmy in watchlists

of known IRA men, Granda
in serge battledress to up sticks,
escape the dole, and lob grenades
at Waziri Pashtun rebels in 1936.

Poetry, I suppose, deals in facts.
Whittle them down to the bone.
There was no inquiry. A bomb
in the Seventies turned the stacks

of documents kept by the family
lawyer into ribbons, white gulls
cresting the sky over Milewater.
Listen to the children’s jump calls:

Thorn Rosa slept for a hundred years,
A hundred years, a hundred years,
Thorn Rosa slept for a hundred years
A long time ago.

I wake early to sheep bleating
in the near field, the scandal
of memory. A deerfly bleeding
us for days sleeps on the mantel.

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem featured on the Poetry Jukebox installations in Limerick & Derry from May-July 2023.

Remembering My Great Aunt Eliza killed in Weaver Street Bombing 100 years Ago Today