the earth brown between wet lanes
and the hedges bare like bones.
My thumbs, stiff and rough
yet twitch for spring,
for nature to swing
into its well-worn path.
The blush of green will creep as always
over the Sperrins, the daylight unbend as
the dew retreats to misty morns.
More than seventy seasons now
I’ve breathed this air:
this oak, this beech
have grown older
as have I,
and though I am tired
and withered, tumbling easier like the winter leaf,
yet this is my land
from which I draw the strength to meet the years.
I will not fear.
71-year-old male civilian, beaten to death at his farm in County Derry by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) after witnessing a robbery.