by Richard Harvey
The life-affirming Derry greeting
Rings like a bell this Sunday morning
Not, how are you, how’s it going, but Yes:
I see you, know your people, your address
My Da knows your Da, my Ma your Ma
Yes Jim, we know each other, who we are.
The Creggan’s ablaze the day for Civil Rights
Banners and signs reflect bright winter’s light
Politicians sleep on, unconcerned
As twenty thousand march for those interned
Free Derry’s on the move to the Guildhall
Can their army stop us? Not at all.
Pick up the banner someone else has dropped
And hold it high; no way can you be stopped
Now I see you arms wide, cross-legged, seated
Giving the peace sign, silent, undefeated
While lurking behind shields and barricades
The Paras prepare their deadly fusillade.
Hankie around your face against the gas
Although it’s clear now they’ll not let you pass
On down to Derry Corner, I’m with you
What’s that? Oh Christ, they’re coming through!
Their engines roaring like it’s Judgement Day
That girl got hit there, let’s get out the way
Turn here into Glenfada, by your Nan’s
Those Paras have come here with their own plans
Get in behind this wall. But what’s those sounds?
It can’t be. Yes it was. Those were live rounds.
There’s fellas lying shot there, dead some say
Come on, across the Park, get out that way.
Got you in my sights I have, old son
Go on, that’s right, let’s see you try to run
Before you even hear my rifle’s crack
I will have dropped you, shot you in the back
What’s that? Still moving? That’s soon changed
In close, and shoot again, from point blank range.
It’s 45 years. We’re still fighting strong
They took you from us but you’re never gone
We know if it had been some other youth
You’d be standing with their family, seeking truth
You’d fight the governments’ lies and law’s delays
Your spirit lives in all of us, Jim Wray.