© By GrĂˇinne Tobin
Carved names make skin prickle,
Bumps rise, as we read whose graves
Weâ€™re walking over on our holidays.
On limestone or granite
In shady cobbled squares
Every village lists its children
Dead for France.
Stone cross planted by a vineyard,
Miles out of town; who has left red flowers?
Fifty years on, weâ€™re tourists here,
Driving past a murder.
My atavistic right hand twitches like a dowserâ€™s
Towards my forehead in the sign of the cross â€“
God between us and all harm â€“
But back at home, we wonâ€™t stare at the flowers
Pinned in bunches to the city shopfront,
Or wired to the roadside fence
Where the craterâ€™s filled, the asphalt patched.
Weâ€™ll lower our eyes and drive on, shivering,
Resisting the reflex gesture or collaborating
in the Ulsterisation of grief.
From: Banjaxxed, Summer Palace Press, 2001