The Cut - Lily Stitt, March 1921, Belfast

by Rosemary Donnelly

Lily opens her door
and finds two strange men
standing in her kitchen.

Where is Jimmy?
Her brother – in the Specials
is out and Lily’s voice
has gone,
hiding deep inside.

One throws her
onto a chair
grabs her hair
to shear it
onto the floor.

The other runs upstairs,
brings down the orange sash
and Union Jack,
trophies to take
and desecrate.

Slowly the room recedes
into dark silence
and forgetfulness,
a letting go
of sorts.

Lily stays home
for her new self
to grow
little by little.

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in Poetry as Commemoration workshops held at The Belfast Linen Hall Library, Belfast, in 2022. The workshops were led by Maria McManus.

Hair-cutting attacks in Belfast.