Stroke city they call it now and we laugh. No one even knows what to call it anymore, they ask you if you kick with your left foot or your right, one means Catholic the other Protestant, but I never understood which, so I used to laugh and say in my wee Irish voice ‘but sure I don’t play football’. Kids would walk away dismayed disgusted with me almost.

That was long ago, I decided to go back in 2006. To take a city vacation. Spoiled with the beaches and the sun, I wanted to see where I had come from. We boarded a bus, a tour, the distinct Derry accent dug deep into my soul for it had been a long time since I’d really heard it. We drove past the murals that divided us all, when we really had no understanding of what it really meant. Big scary men in balaclavas and Red Right hands, we hadn’t been on the planet too long, couldn’t make much sense of it. Sectarian killing kept it going. As individuals we actually liked one another. Hated hearing about a war. Dad’s of our best friends dying by the score. It was bloody madness, and no one had a cure.

The bus passed by Messines Park where I used to go to Sunday School, children playing there, unaware, that not so long ago, bombs exploded, people imploded, shops and factories gone. I remember my big sister got me knocked down there, when she ran away to be with a friend and I chased after, hit by an old car, taken down the road on the rusty knarly bumper, grazed legs and carried home by the teacher. She cried and cried, but I never told on her.

We were afraid to go out and yet we walked to school alongside the tanks, played with machine guns, and the soldiers were more scared than us. They did not belong here and they too were so young.

The soldiers made sandbag walls to protect themselves, not really wanted the British Army in an ancestoral plight. William of Orange did he get it right? The IRA, the UDA, I could never make out who was who. But we as kids had no idea, 5 years old, that’s all we were, dancing on those sandbag walls, poking rifles, singing our little hearts out. Our drawings depicted explosives instead of flowers and barbed wire in front of houses. Bang, Bang, Boom, there was another Bomb and we would simply say ’ I wonder where that was?’ For we were innocent, we knew no better. Thank God for peace and all of those who fought for it!

Soaps 10.01.10



Sydney, Australia

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Artist's Description

Writing exercises on Red Bubble:

Use the following phrases in a piece of writing:

a city vacation…

children playing…


a war…

Artwork Comments

  • Palynn
  • Soaps
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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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