Willie you were just a child

when you walked across that no man’s land

July first 1916,

Herbie your brother by your side

bayonets fixed but

what the fuck were you doing there?

why weren’t you

scything grass or walking cattle to the market

why weren’t you linking a girl’s arm along Hill Street

why weren’t you

downing stout in a Newry bar


weren’t you shouting  ‘this is not my war’

why didn’t I

take you in my arms before you died

and say

‘grandda, now I know

what demons drove you to the drink’

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