The Troubles, 1922

by John Hewitt

The Troubles came; by nineteen twenty-two
we knew of an accepted violence
in the small streets at hand. With Curfew tense,
each evening when that quiet hour was due,
I never ventured far from where I knew
I could reach home in safety. At the door
I’d sometimes stand, till with oncoming roar,
the wire-cage Crossley tenders swept in view.

Once, from front bedroom window, I could mark
black shapes, flat-capped, across the shadowed street,
two policemen on patrol. With crack and spark
fierce bullets struck the kerb beneath their feet;
below the shattered streetlamp in the dark
blurred shadow crouched, then pattered quick retreat.

John Hewitt (1907-1987)

Hewitt, John. Out of my time: poems 1967-1974. Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 1974. p.305.

Reproduced with permission of the John Hewitt Society.