RIVERS OF BLOOD


I think of a freckly, fair haired lad

of fifteen, an Irish Traveller –

from that nomadic, hard grafting culture

spawned by the Great Famine. As he ran

from danger across a playing field

he tripped and was killed by two youths, fellow

Catholics with Irish surnames, one of whom

allegedly said, as he stamped with both feet

on the boy’s head, ‘He’s only a fucking

Gypsy.’ The judge did not consider the crime

racist. (Possibly the manifold

ironies had leached into his judgement

and atrophied it). Though it is no longer

legal to overtly, verbally or

otherwise, attack any Asians, Blacks,

Jews and/or Muslims per se for all Gypsies,

Travellers and/or Roma per se

it seems always to be open season.

 

They are tidal rivers the rivers of blood,

those prophesied, self fulfilling torrents

of violence, made to seem inevitable

as flash floods, typhoons, so unstoppable:

a metaphor that is flourished – when

political fortunes are at an ebb –

by scoundrels looking to float their boats

whatever the flotsam or the jetsam.

 

 

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  1. #1 by Allan Owens - February 12th, 2014 at 23:07

    Very close to home, very powerful poem. Huge injustice on our doorstep.

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