Bloody Friday 1972

We raked the hay in Edenmore.
My Belfast Aunts and I
Each straw from the ditches saved
A winter’s cowcud store.

We shook hay rushes lightly
Dust falling like sieved flour..
Then lifted, folded, set down gently…
Wee hay buns
Waiting for the oven sun.
We worked till Tessie came over the hill
The bearer of tea and terrible news.

In Great Victoria Street your warm blood flowed
Straight lined down pavement grout
Pushed on by the fireman’s hose…
It trickled over kerbstones
Its path now slowed
Split by drumlin tar
A deadly delta
Headed Laganwards

Gather sinews, limbs
Rake in the body parts
Piece together the jigsaw of the dead and soon to be
Bagged in their own blood, lapping
Laid down gently
In little rows
For the ambulance and the morgue.

In Edenmore we raked the hay
Our spirits dulled,
And walked down Nixon’s hazelled lane
To the thatch and the hearth
And fadge bread browned in bacon fat.

Just seventy-four miles away.

Frankie McPhillips

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