Smiling Assassins

Hey everyone A poem on the massacre of 14 unarmed civilians who marched along with thousands of their fellow nationalists for civil rights on the streets of Derry in a late January Sunday in 1972. This was a march from which they were never to return as they were ruthlessly murdered by British Soldiers.

Whilst always knowing of the events of that day I suppose it really hit home last September when I marched for Scotland’s independence through the streets of Edinburgh. You see I realised if the British Government had taken a temper tantrum that could have been me and my friends who were killed in cold blood for no other reason than the fact we were there. I have called the poem Smiling Assassins I hope you find it a challenging and thought provoking read.

Smiling Assassins

Did they smile when they slaughtered the innocents
14 unarmed civilians
who marched only for their rights
nobody wanted a fight
January is too cold for that
they said the were taking out terrorists
yet no-one who died had a gun
this was murder in the name of not so great Britain
did the soldiers follow orders
or did they think their just Irish scum
let’s kill them
believing they could camouflage their sins
with no thought for the families who mourned
did they smile as they fired the bullets
in to the crowd of protesters
were they singing no surrender
as they were shooting to kill
on the streets of Derry
on a day when people went to march
and never returned to their homes
it says in the B-attitudes blessed are those who mourn
for they shall be comforted
comfort will come from the fact that the spirit of freedom still burns its brightest flame
when the winter winds remind us of the bitterness of Britain’s name
on the day the sun never shines
and we remember the victims
of bloody Sunday
seeing only the smiling assassins dressed in the butcher’s apron they call a uniform
as lambs are carved for sunday roast
and served with a slice of inhumanity
by those who proudly claim
you go for the kill when your prey is looking for a meal
and finds only crumbs
many years later
in my early fifties
I recall the events of my 10th January
as I march with another nationalist family
on a calm September day when we clearly say
Britannia your time has come and gone
the clock is ticking towards a new dawn
the old nation re-born for bigger better days
in the madness of the gathering
I find a moment to pray
remember the smiling assassins
and vow to make to a difference
by removing the mask
which hides the smug smirk
and exposes them so the world can see the light
in the darkest days of winter

@ Gayle Smith 2014

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