A Boy I Used To Know – Niall M Oliver

A Boy I Used To Know

I don’t tell my new friends about the boy
who’d blow his pocket-money on rolls of caps
to make penny-bangers, then at dark-fall,

launch them like grenades against the wall
of his protestant neighbours’ house,
driving them mad, driving them out.

I don’t tell them of the names he’d mutter
at the soldiers patrolling check-points and streets,
or the freedom songs he’d sing with his mates.

I don’t tell how the boy would feel the impact
somewhat less, when the news of another death
bore the name of a victim from the other side.

I’m too afraid they wouldn’t understand
if I spoke of this boy, and how he’d revolt
at the sound of their English tongues.

Niall M Oliver lives in Ireland, and is the author of ‘My Boss’ by Hedgehog Poetry. His poems have featured in Acumen, Atrium, The Honest Ulsterman, Fly On The Wall Press, Ink Sweat & Tears and others. 

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