To the Peacekeepers

written 2008, with other poems from Northern Ireland
The conversation
was meant to be lighthearted
maybe a bit amusing.
One man said ‘body parts’,
eyebrows rising,
everyone laughed.
I heard another voice
distant, determined.
Body Parts, she said
need celebration.

His name was Mark
and he had blond hair,
the sort that goes dirty colour
when you are older.
I never saw him older.
Hair grows before you are born
and after you die.
Does it grow if your
head is just a body part?
Parted by blast and disassociation.

Did Mark’s hair leave his head
like his head, his left arm, other
bits left his body
and parted company
from nineteen years together.
How much was left on the
grey granite chips
of that road
outside Pomeroy?

How much might belong to another?
A young man
teamed with Mark
Now merged.
A very final partnering.

I don’t know what we buried
she said.
But, I was glad we had
that funeral, with flags
and salute and pomp
pompous ceremony
and marching comrades
raising salute to the body parts.

It held me together.

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One thought on “To the Peacekeepers

  1. Pingback: Poetry of Moods and Moments

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