**Some selections of Ciaran Carson and Seamus Heaney over the next few days. Hope everyone enjoys and is well.
Cont'd from previous entry
It's so hard to remember, and so easy to forget
the casualty list-
Like the names on a school desk, carved into one another til they're indecipherable.
It's that frottage effect again: the paper that you're scribbling on is grained
And blackened, til the pencil-lead snaps off, in a valley of the broken alphabet
And the streets are a bad photostat grey: the ink comes off on your hand.
With so many foldings and unfoldings, whole segments of the map have fallen off.
It's not unlike the missing reel in the film, the blank screen jittering
With numerals and flak, til the picture jumps back - a bit out of sync,
As soldiers A and B and others of the lettered regiment discuss the mission
In their disembodied voice. Only the crackly Pye Pocketfone sounds real,
A bee-in-the-biscuit-tin buzzing number codes and decibels. They're in the belly
Of a Saracen called "Felix", the cartoon cat they've taken as a mascot:
It's all the go, here, changing something into something else, like rhyming
Kampuchea with Cambodia. It's why Mickey Mouse wears those little white gloves -
Claws are too much like a mouse. And if the animals are trying to be people,
Vice versa is the case as well. Take "Mad Dog" Reilly, for example, who
This instant is proceeding to the rendezvous. A gunman, he isn't yet; the rod
Is stashed elsewhere, somewhere in a mental block of dog-leg turns and cul-de-sacs.
He sniffs his hand, an antiseptic tang that momentarily brings back
The creak of a starched coat crushed against his double-breasted gaberdine.
After the recorded message, the bleep announces a magnetic silence
Towards which she's drawn as a conspirator, as towards a confessional, whispering
What she knows into the wire-grilled darkness: Names, dates, places;
More especially, a future venue, Tomb Street GPO.
She wants the slate wiped clean, Flash or Ajax cutting a bright swathe
Through a murky kitchen floor, transforming it into a gleaming checkerboard.
Tiles of black and white on which the regiments of pawns move ponderously,
Bishops take diagonals, and the Queen sees dazzling lines of power.
Or, putting it another way, Operation "Mad Dog", as it's known now,
Is the sketch that's taking shape on the Army HQ blackboard, chalky ghosts
Behind the present, showing what was contemplated and rubbed out, Plan A
Becoming X or Y; interlocked, curved arrows of the mortgaged future.
The raffia waste-paper bin is full of crumpled drafts and cigarette butts,
And ash has seeped through to the carpet. There's a smell of peeled oranges.
*Last of this tomorrow.