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…

Anyway,

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.

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  • PJ Maybe

    O’Toole’s short descent to amateur hour, started with Fealty’s acolytes posting their bad photography and pish poor caricatures is now almost complete. We’re just missing someone publishing links to their songs on You Tube. Still with the er “quality” of most of the supposedly serious posts at least no one can be accused of showing the quality of other contributors up

  • carl marks

    PJ Maybe (profile) says:
    4 August 2011 at 9:51 am

    “O’Toole’s short descent to amateur hour, started with Fealty’s acolytes posting their bad photography and pish poor caricatures is now almost complete. We’re just missing someone publishing links to their songs on You Tube. Still with the er “quality” of most of the supposedly serious posts at least no one can be accused of showing the quality of other contributors up”
    If you have such a low opinion of this blog it begs the question, why are you bothering with it.
    As to the poem although it is aimed at loyalists it can apply equally well to the dissident republicans

  • PJ Maybe

    Why? This place is comedy gold. Indeed I have often thought that Slugger O’Toole is a masterpiece in satire, the truth of which will be revealed in some upcoming Channel 4 (in association with NI Screen) TV show.

  • Carl, apologies, I was distracted by discussions on another of the poems. I had meant to come back and say thanks, but also to say that the poem’s not ‘aimed’ at anybody. You’re dead right that the activity or attitudes it satirises aren’t limited to one outlook or t’other… Though yes, at the time, loyalists really seemed to be making the play on amateur grenade-making, I don’t think I could write about the subject the same way today.