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December 23, 2015 / hbrowne4

Yellow Sky by Michael Gavin

“Better to die beneath an Irish sky than souk el Garb or something similarly unpronounceable” said Joe to the hooded man repeating a strange placename from a well know Ballad.

Frank had been accused of touting to the peelers or informing as polite people call it, never a popular past time with the Irish, polite or otherwise.

The greatest crime in the Irish psyche is to tell of your neighbours goings on to the authorities.

This has changed a bit in recent years in affairs of taxation and children but otherwise the first commandment of Irish identity still reigns supreme.

Frank had said his last confession to a local parish priest borrowed by the boys at gunpoint.

The man in the collar felt assured of eternal life, Frank didn’t but neither wanted to be there linked eternally.

Coming from a strong republican family, Frank had pulled the trigger on three such touts feeling they deserved it but now he was the hooded man awaiting a click he would never hear.

“One last word boys” he begged.

“Ok” said the officer commanding “but don’t make it too long, we don’t want to be here all night”

Frank thanked Joe and asked him to take the piece of paper from his top pocket and read it.

Joe read aloud.

“I never thought the republic I would betray

my father and father before

but one day I did spy

a lady constable from Ardglass

Our hearts then our bodies did join

and my soul was hers to hold

I could not betray my true lady love

and now I die beneath a moonlit yellow sky

rather than live a lie

a country my heart cannot keep

but sweet Arlene from Ardglass I love so deep

so farewell to Cullaville and Crossmaglen

 for someday Arlene will be with me again”

Shedding a tear, he stops and shouts

“Do It”

The trigger clicks and the boys go home to watch the Liverpool match.

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