death of Iraqi child

part of her head
lay on rock that had
also been shattered – destroyed
not too far from her body.
i moved the picture
side-ways – upside-down
then in a semi-circle and
slowly around.
she looked about 8
or maybe 10
and then – i remembered:
Wee Patrick Rooney
Shot as he fled
To hide in his bed
And young Jim Doherty
On his front wall –
His mother – watching him play
Watched him fall – dead –
With a bullet in his little blond head.
And Majella O’Hare
On a road to make her peace with God
Found not the peace His love would bring –
But a soldier’s weapon built to distort His love
In everything.
struggling to remember them all
names so hard to recall
like dreams we dream in the night
forgotten and forsaken for light –
let not our souls find ease
or – our hearts relief –
let it be our sentence
to always know the grief –
of your Iraqi child!
Our Iraqi Children:
Paula Strong
Clare Hughes
Tracey Munn
And Colin Nicholl
Jacqueline and Anne Marie O’Brien
Little Angela Gallagher
Margaret Gargan
And Carol Anne and
Brian and
And Seamus,
Eileen Mackin and
So many more.
There is nothing here for grief to understand –
Grief doesn’t find ‘reason’ a consolation –
It understands only the devastation
Any child’s death will bring.
It matters not to those who grieve
What power points the gun of fires the shot
In terms of any child’s death – it matters not.

Mother and father and sister and brother and aunt and uncle and cousin
And grandmother and grandfather and friend and Mullah and Ayatollah
Of murdered Iraqi Child
There can be no comfort
In comparing pain
That – sometimes sleeps then wakes again.
But sorrow is a pain we know
When this time 34 years ago – we like you
Were ‘saved’ from certain slaughter
By those who had turned their blind eyes towards our plight of 800 years.
‘mind your saviours’ i say
and i thank God our fields are full of potatoes and not oil!

Names of Children mentioned in poem

Patrick Rooney aged 9 years (first child to die in present troubles) shot 14th August 1969
Jim Doherty age 7 years shot 14th October 1972
Majella O’Hare aged 12 years shot 14th August 1976
Paula Strong aged 6 years car bomb 31th October 1972
Clare Hughes aged 4 years car bomb 31th October 1972
Tracey Munn aged 2 years result of an explosion 11th December 1971
Colin Nicholl aged 17 months result of an explosion 11th December 1971
Jacqueline O’Brien aged 17 months Dublin bombing 17th May 1974
Anne Marie O’Brien aged 5 months Dublin bombing 17th May 1974
Angela Gallaher aged 18 months shot September 1971
Margaret Gargan aged 13 years shot July 9th 1972
Julie Livingstone aged 14 years shot with plastic bullet 13th May 1981
Carol Anne Kelly aged 11 ears shot with plastic bullet 22nd May 1981
Brian Stewart aged 13 years shot with plastic bullet October 4th 1976
Steven Gettis aged 10 years shot with plastic bullet 29th May 1975
Seamus Duffy aged 15 years shot with plastic bullet August 9th 1989
Eileen Mackin aged 14 years shot May 17th 1973.

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