**Some selections of Ciaran Carson and Seamus Heaney over the next few days. Hope everyone enjoys and is well.
A Remote Handling Equipment (Tracked) Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit - Wheelbarrow,
For short - is whirring and ticking towards the Ford Sierra parked in Tomb Street,
Its robotic arm extended indirectly towards this close-up of a soldier. He's wearing
An M69 flak jacket, Dr Marten boots and non-regulation skiing gloves.
Another soldier, armed with Self-loading Rifle, squats beneath a spray gunned
Flourish of graffiti: The Provos Are Fighting For You. Remember It. Brits Out.
Now they're seen together leaning against the facade of a chemist's shop,
Admiring - so it would appear - the cardboard ad. for Wilkinson Sword razor blades.
So much, they're now in the interior: a gauzy, pinkish smell of soap and sticking -
Plaster, through which they spit word-bubbles at the white-coated girl assistanct.
Much of this is unintelligible, blotted out by stars and asterisks
Just as the street is splattered with bits of corrugated iron and confetti.
Her slightly antiseptic perfume is a reminiscent je-ne-sais-quai
Glimpsed through Pear's Soap, an orange-sepia zest of coal-tar -
It's that moire light from the bathroom window, or a body seen behind
They shower-curtain, holding a Champagne telephone - the colour, not the drink,
Though it gives of a perceptible hiss. And the continuous background
Rumble is a string of Ms and Rs, expanding and contracting
To reveal the windswept starry night, through which a helicopter trawls
Its searchlight. Out there, on the ground, there's a spoor of Army boots;
Dogs are following their noses, and terrorists are contemplating
Terror, a glittering, tilted view of mercury, while the assistant slithers
Into something more comfortable: jeans, a combat jacket, Doc Marten boots;
Then weighs the confidential dumb-bell of the telephone. She pushes the buttons:
Zero Eight Double Zero. Then the number of the Beast, the number of the Beast
Turned upside down: Six Six Six, Nine Nine Nine . . .
The ambient light of yesterday is amplified by talk of might-have-beens,
Making 69 - the year - look like quoatation marks, commentators commentating on
The flash-point of the current Trouble, though there's any God's amount
Of Nines and Sixes: 1916, 1690, The Nine Hundred Years' Year, whatever.
Or maybe we can go back to the Year Dot, the nebulous expanding brain-wave
Of the Big Bang, releasing us and It and everything into oblivion;
**More of this poem tomorrow