on the first meeting of gerry adams and tony blair
Gerry shrugged to the camera Tony seems a decent man
who’d shake your hand meet your eye and clearly understand
that a different point of view shouldn’t close the door
to old enemies who now embrace democracy and law.
In noting Tony’s decency Gerry tendered his own claim
the buried past leaves questions asked that come again and again
yet he firmly holds his ground between the living and the dead
warned by the solid wife of Lot you can only look ahead.
Standing there on history’s call to keep alive the flame
of frustrated aspiration forged in years of common pain
leavened with the wisdom won in republican affairs
a more modest preparation than that of Tony Blair.
Tony had an easier time due of birthplace and of class
sure he had his rebel moments but by morning they would pass
he knew that history never tells what the days ahead will hold
history began when he was born, disappointingly unforetold.
He strode out in his modern world extolling order, duty, care
and his prisons heaved as never before to evidence his flair
\\we must be vigilant, seek out our enemies where they hide
patience soothes injustice not bombs or suicides -
\\leadership requires a duty to balance power and truth
(with a careful finger on the scale for neither is absolute) -
\\indulge ourselves with leisure to prime the economy of toil
so those whom God has given least can work to save their soul -
\\something for the wretched too an early end to strife
be consoled our statistics prove they enjoy a shorter life -
\\for the benefit of those without be careful how we share….
he truly was the modern man the neo-old time Blair.
So, Tony told our Gerry how to join this little fold
shape the country and systems and do it as he’s told
by ministers with assumed powers impatient of the ways
of the surly, slow and fractious holding on to olden days.
This serious politician blessed with homely bonhomie
was nobodys tea boy in the alliance of the free
the easy style deceived, the genes knew how to conquer
let them get up off their knees but not beyond their hunkers.
Alright, so things are better much better than before
didn’t Targeted Social Need bring inclusion to the poor
and in the miracle of distribution when administered by our boys
alchemised to four by fours and other shiny toys
Up the Antrim or the Glen Road the fruits of equal opps
brought equality to fenians in a society that is not
equal, obviously much less so down the Shankill or the Falls
but someone had to clamber through when the wild ones breached the walls
to bring peace and reconciliation where they’d been missed before
dividends of the Agreement earned by caution in the war
a wee nod to the margins to thank them for the ride
them grants slipped down so smoothly boys they hardly touched the sides.
So, Gerry, as he sleaks off into history and time obscures his track
did he resolve the Irish question while fiddling with Iraq
it seems quiet enough and the 4th green field ain’t going anywhere
so he was good, but was he decent, the Right Honourable Mr Blair?
Barney Rooney's Other Poems
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