Treasure Island

Barney Rooney

(belfast)

Forty Years Coming


In time he raised the finger
forty years coming
raised the finger to bless the child
though the child should be done with growing
a child who never tired
almost never tired of trying
to catch his eye to win his love
despite all the denying

not that he had denied the child
though neither love nor duty
turned his eye and claimed a smile
when he extolled its beauty
nor was it always 'a terrible beauty'
but so since eastertide
when duty won though the child seemed grown
and childhood almost died

in the northeast counties
the six that he declares
demanding rights or join the south
still wondering who they were
and in Derry came the answer
sharp above the rising sound
of bricks and sticks came the crack crack crack
you bastard child get down

a father knowing no remorse
for the plight of such a child
in time his own assumed his place
bemused and quite beguiled
by old footage and the distance
from the way that things were done
shorn of shame by muddied blame
to such a daughter or a son

but there is no penitance here
tidied ends of events of old
inquiry and some recompense
hold the child within the fold
accept the blessing
dream as you are bid
take your chances as a bastard child
loved or lost or hid

Submitted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
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Poet's Notes about The Poem

It took about 40 years for the British Government to accept the fact of Bloody Sunday in Derry. A lot of lies were told along the way and a few lawyers made a lot of money. The truth was always known and was hardly enhanced by the Government's acknowledgment of it, or by the welcoming of their acknowledgment.

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