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Yes Jim!


by Richard Harvey


Yes Jim!

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.

Yes Jim.

Yes Jim.


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.

Yes Jim

Yes Jim


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.

Yes Jim

Yes Jim


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

Yes Jim

Yes Jim


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.

Yes Jim

Yes Paddy


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.

Yes Paddy.

Yes Jim


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.

Yes Jim

Yes Jim


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