dedalus Posted May 6, 2010 Share Posted May 6, 2010 (edited) We were told to stay off the booze and to run five miles across the feckin fields when we had, as it were, the time. Everyone snorted and fell over laughing, and then Dinny ups and says, Are we to be running in our Welly boots, sorr? to the hard-eyed runt come down from Belfast. He looked pinched and peeved, having to deal with us rustics, but he'd brought us guns. Nice guns, too, Armalites, greased-up, new. We were better tooled-up than the sad sallow boys in the fearful British Army (you can take that both ways). They were just walking targets, doing useless patrols. We'd do a little ping once a week, shoot one, then let them drag the body home to think and brood about it. They took their anger out on the locals which was exactly what we expected them to do: the classic, fatal mistake of ALL occupation armies. Safe houses, money, food, they all came pouring in, and morale was right up there. That's when we thought we were winning the war. We were doing grand in East Tyrone, but the cities were a different story. They started picking us off one by one: dawn raids, roadblocks, security checks; all the technology efficiently brought to bear. We were driven into the hills and woods like the clansmen four hundred years before. We lost the M-60 that way. Some young lads, recent recruits, seething with frustration, raced through the town with the gun set up on a flatbed truck and battered the hell out of the local police station. The SAS were waiting and shot the lot of them dead, even shot them after they were dead (to make sure, like) there in the parking lot in front of the church. Cartridges like peanut shells everywhere you walked. That's when I went to America, after the cops beat up my little brother, hassled my mother in the street, and swore I would never be captured alive. We had lost, as they say, the initiative. When it came, the "Peace Process" was grudgingly welcomed. We were losing, it was that simple. Nobody will admit it to this day: "The Undefeated Army" --- (that was supposed to be us) was barely functional, nearly licked, and mostly on the run. I was scared of my life in New York -- Jayzus, you think Norn Iron is dangerous? Try Brooklyn. There I was, bartending, what else do Irish illegals do (construction)? Then the word came through it was safe to come home. It is never safe to come home, not if your home is my home: it's been on the frontline for the past four hundred years, and I don't want my own kids (if and when I have them) to go through the same thing. Still, we all must do our little bit, measured or unmeasured, for Mother Ireland. Do chum Gloire De agus Onora na hEireann* but the time slides around when you have to think about doing a little something for the nerve-wracked jangling creature that dear old Mother Ireland has made of you. ----------------------------------------- * For the Glory of God and the honour of Ireland NB - this poem is NOT entirely autobiographical. I can occasionally get into trouble for mixing journalism and poetry .... Edited May 6, 2010 by dedalus Quote Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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