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Garvaghy Road

A Poem by:

Anthony Bavin

Colourful Bar


Copyright shall at all times remain vested in the Author. No part of the work shall be used, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the Author's express written consent.

(This poem was written after a new spate of Irish troubles - but it could equally well have been written about the Gaza Strip, Serbia, Kurdistan or any one of a number of African states. I just feel so desperately sorry for the man, the woman and the child in the street, in any of these places.)


It's only a road after all,

A highway dedicated to the public,

So they may freely pass and re-pass,

Along its course, at will,

But not to block, obstruct or loiter,

Nor, by law, to fill

With ranks of disaffected marchers,

Where sermons from mendacious preachers,

Incite men to kill:

Passions kindled by the gossip of tin whistles,

Lisping calls to arms to hypnotised apostles,

In tones so shrill,

Whilst the drum taps out the beat of insurrection,

Calls Apprentice Boys

To drill.


It's only a road after all,

A byway designated for all traffic,

Where those pursuing lawful business,

Should by right, along its source, still

Be allowed to traverse freely,

But not to make a no go, no hope, no man's area,

And not, in the name of God

To preach, rehearse the steely

Words inducing so much disaffection,

Hand out leaflets that call for insurrection,

"Come with us, sign up and join the action!"

Inspired by our call for mission, you'll grow

Mesmerised by the drum beat's rhythmic pattern,

Magnetised by our oratory's lilting passion;

And soon, controlled by an unseen hand, you'll throw

Petrol bombs in taverns,

Shoot Paras in the back,

Knee cap those who fail to heed our orders,

Those who dare attack,

Our Leader,

Just because he wears a flack-

proof jacket beneath his robes,

Gives credence to the demonstration,

Words fuelling all the conflagration,

'Take this revolver for communion,'

Sermons, words beguiling, masking,

Hearts of stone and soft words asking

For hatred in the name of Christ.


It's only a road after all,

A road where no one is to blame,

Save for its leaders -

And both sides are the same:

So that, here, on Garvaghy Road, time just stands still.


Anthony Bavin
Copyright © 2000

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