Meat Wagon


My father kick-started
A dead man with the heel of his shoe
And swore to me, in drink, he once
Got a mad woman out of a tree
By firing windfall apples at her.
He was half-deafened with blasts
And if you set him up with
A glass of Guinness and a bush,
He might let on darkly about
The wounds in his head from
Collecting bits of people in bags--
Or happier times when "an Emergency,"
Meant being too full of plum poitin,
To keep his ambulance between the hedges,
After a well-lubricated false alarm
Way out in the never-never.
God knew, a while of his crack,
Blunted trauma far better
Than any sterile diagnosis.
His compassion had no side,
He'd seen the similarity of passing souls
Whatever foot they kicked with in life.
There were no atheists in the back,
Where, in his humble way,
He held everyone sacred.

Ian Acheson is a 44 year old Ulsterman who has written extensively about his experiences growing up alongside Ireland's contested border during the height of the sectarian conflict which became known as 'The Troubles.' Ian draws on a feeling for the beauty of this landscape and how the perversion of violence has transformed those who lived there through this cruel and very intimate battle about territory and identity. Unusually, Ian writes much of his poetry from the perspective of border Protestant community who have traditionally either been ignored or caricatured. More of his work, published in the UK can be seen at his blog: '51% British - writing the Troubles out of my head'

My father kick-started
A dead man with the heel of his shoe