A poem for the day – The Pipe-bomber

This is another one from the late 90s, that I think is a response to or expression of a sense of depression at the low-level post-ceasefires violence from loyalist organisations that didn’t ‘get it’ or see anything in the ‘process’ for themselves or were just too plain sectarian to care (delete as applicable).

Though I hope there’s more going on in the poem than just a middle-class whinge – in fact, maybe it’s a satire on the middle-class whinge as much as it is a satire on half-baked terrorism…


The Pipe-bomber

See your man?
In anyone’s hands but his
this bit of DIY’d
blow the hands of you.

Say a child found it
and shook it, say it went off –
where’d you be then?
It’s unstable, risky

but a bit of me admires
this cowboy armourer’s
persistence in
his shoddy workmanship.

Mostly I think our towns
belong to stubborn
botchers like himself
with the disco moustache

slaving away in the scullery
of an empty flat,
his bag of Growmore
open on the worktop.

Any other place he’d be
a boffin hobbyist,
an amateur inventor.
here, you might as well

just praise him,
might as well say idle
hands and get on with
teaching the kids

to keep their noses out …
So what if the tradition
of light engineering
has come to this?

There’s still the harbour
and boats still leave it.
There’s still the airport,
while the weather holds.

Author of four collections of poetry, the most recent, The resurrection of the Body at Killysuggen, published in June 2011 by Belfast’s Lagan Press. He blogs about his latest book on www.killysuggen.wordpress.com.

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