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by Ward Stothers

She leaned forward   looking sideways
Surveying the length of the room
And forced her speech pouring out in vowels,
Wails and howls in banshee pitch
 Landing on cupped ears, tugging at grappled hearts.
Overflowing tears
    On unconcerned carpet.

   Down Armagh streets, over the commons
Marched the last Saturday in August
A parade of heft and chatter
A loyal order witness,
Retreading history   measuring faith
Balancing trumpetries on tiptoes
Weaving a cadence of drums,
Donning  orange dreams.

Her pain recharged
With every uttered syllable
Replaying charred memories,
Swollen years with stolen yesterdays
Under mounds of accumulating grief.

Loft and pride
 Hoist their chins,
 Searching for storm clouds,
Wrap their spite
In wafting fears of hate and fight,
Discounting green as barking dogs.

Ten years of entreating echoes   
Accompany two centuries of drums and guns,
Watched over and wondered at,
By two ogling Patricks of Armagh
Cast in a concrete silence
 Being  Ebal and Gerizim,
Reminding the people of blessings and curses.

Fifers bow to bells
Tolling in a cogent flurry for Sunday worship,
As God asks
"Can even one more sift of violence
Add grace to death
Already offered for life, in
My gaveled righteousness in a Lamb’s blood
Clotting your fears, shearing the tears",
Making lotus eaters of fasting warlords
Who give their colours back to God again.

Copyright ©2004 Ward Stothers