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Identification In Belfast

Identification In Belfast

(I. R. A. Bombing)

The British Army now carries two rifles,
One with rubber rabbit-pellets for children,
The other’s of course for the Provisionals….
‘When they first showed me the boy, I thought oh good,
It’s not him because he’s blonde-
I imagine his hair was singed dark by the bomb.
He had nothing on him to identify him,
Except this box of joke trick matches;
He liked to have them on him, even at mass.
The police were unhurried and wonderful,
They let me go on trying to strike a match…
I just wouldn’t stop-you cling to anything-
I couldn’t believe I couldn’t light one match-
Only joke matches… Then I knew he was Richard.’



Poem Identification In Belfast - Robert Lowell
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