Reality Replay

I got the inspiration for this poem from a clip from the TRoubles my teacher showed my History class. Sometimes, when I'm learning off facts for my Leaving Cert History exam, it's easy to forget that people actually lived through the various wars we study. This was the version of this poem I meant to put in for the yearbook, but I sent in an earlier draft by mistake....

Flickering images,
Detached reality in black and white.
"The Troubles";
Simple title, for complex times.
"Troubles" are day to day struggles?
Not this.
Not a war reborn on film
Replayed for ignorant eyes.

What do I know
Of grudge and bloodshed?
Dates, statistics, agreements,
Cold facts locked in print.

Real knowledge,
Real life
Beyond my understanding.
Fire, blistering flesh,
Coarse scream;
Chaos, gunshot,
White flag
stained with hearbreak.

My "Troubles" end with a flick of a switch.
Their "Troubles" have shaped a lifetime.
I have heard only the hound's howl
Through a glass window:
They have endured
The merciless crunch of it's jaws.

All I can do
is shout silently
to flimsy souls
beyond my sympathy.

Class bell sounds.
Students disperse.

I am left none the wiser.

The End

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