My writing, NaPoWriMo, Poetry, Writing

NaPoWriMo Day 3 -Brian


“Watch our Brian,” our ma shouted from the kitchen,
elbow deep in peelings.
“No bother” I called, plumping down my bag and coat.
But when I made a mug of tea, he’d slipped away
for a wee dander on the street.
I let him have his play,
Not wanting to bother our ma.

“Your Brian’s been shot!
A shrill wee voice burst into the house,
a pal, no doubt, playing a prank.
What a thing to say! But my heart leapt
to my mouth, and I went outside,
not wanting to scare our ma.

They’d taken him next door
and laid him on the sofa.
His arms and legs thrashed,
his blonde hair was soaked in red;
his head.
He’d brought up his food, and his eyes were blind.
I held him close,
not wanting our ma to see him like this.

“They dragged him by his ankles!” people around me cried:
“They tried to carry him off!”
We eyed the khaki-clad soldiers
as they shoved into the ambulance.
But I elbowed my way in
as they held back our screaming ma.

At the hospital, they tried to bring him back,
the doctors and nurses,
as they worked in a ring of military forces
holding closed the door.
They pushed at his heart and patched up his head,
but they didn’t let me hold him,
to stand in for his ma.

They put him on machines
to breathe for him, but my brother was gone,
blown out from his own head:
and six days later he was dead.
At the funeral, on his birthday
I carried the cards and balloons
she’d bought for him;
our prostrated ma.

13-year-old male, died six days after being hit by a plastic bullet fired by the British Army, near his home in Belfast.

My writing, NaPoWriMo, Poetry, Writing

NaPoWriMo Day 2 -Rosemary


It’s the thirteenth today;
touch wood.
So long I’ve waited, and it has to be this day?
Still, I’m doing what I longed for
this last three years.
But here’s me, crouched in a toilet,
fiddling with wires,
and I’m to be a teacher!
But the cause is right,
and casualties regrettable.
Touch wood.

18 year old female member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
One of four people killed in a premature explosion at a shop in North Street, Belfast, as she was assembling a bomb on the premises.

My writing, NaPoWriMo, Poetry

NaPoWriMo Day 1 – Linda


Her da
would sing to her;
two years gone now,
but loyalty, that widow maker, lingers.
His name, etched in stone and statistics
troubles her.
So she gives it a shot,
puts on the serge green, walks the beat;
patrols her home town, still a teen.
she sticks her neck out,
and the song continues as her life bleeds
across the street.

19 year old female member of the RUC.
Died nine days after being shot while on foot patrol in Londonderry.

Murals, Belfast, 2016
My writing, NaPoWriMo, Poetry, Writing

NaPoWriMo 2019 – 30 Poems in 30 Days

I’ve previously written about my failed experiment with NaNoWriMo and why writing a 50,000 word novel to order in 30 days wasn’t for me.

And yet, in a moment of madness and inspiration (I’ve just discovered Northern Irish poet John Hewitt), I’ve made a commitment to write a poem a day for the 30 days of April 2019, starting today.

NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual creative writing project in which participants commit to write a poem a day for the month of April. There is no award, or prize – completing the challenge is the prize!

So I’ve signed this site up as a NaPoWriMo participant site 

You can follow all the poems throughout April on the #NaPoWriMo hashtag on Twitter.

Writing prompts are available on the NaPoWriMo site or you can go freestyle as I intend to. The theme of my poems will be “tales from the Troubles” – I’ve been carrying out research using Ulster University’s CAIN website ( Conflict and Politics in Northern Ireland) for several years now for my novel-in progress, and the sheer number of names and faces, casualties and victims of the Troubles in Northern Ireland is overwhelming. My aim is to take random entries from a year (1976) and write a short poem, based on their age, sex, location and any details provided in the CAIN archives.

I want the poems to be a reminder of the lives of people who, apart for their loved ones, are now a footnote in history, a couple of lines of text and maybe a black and white picture on a political history website.

Wish me luck, and let me know if you’re participating in NaPoWriMo too.