See the reverent hands unfold the cloth,
medals laid with old memories to rest,
blanketed in a white shroud,
serving to muffle the scraping sounds,
like April’s soil absorbed the impact of screeching mortars.
The pride in the aged serge cloth,
snug fitted belonging to a younger man,
witness to the pain at Qana,
where Jesus turned water to wine,
and artillery turned all to death & dust,
The familiar hug of peaker cap about the brow,
historical brass centred on the forehead,
burrowing into the mind with patriotic dreams,
which always run before the youth,
before smoke and blood fill the future.
Those gentle hands that hold a son, fighter like his father,
mounted crests on arms that shield a family,
spat upon with infamy,
a voice that roared no more,
as cowards struck with calumny.
Soldier still, with hands that have both shook and struck,
plastic keys replacing plastic rifle,
barbed comment replacing barbed wire,
from Bekaa to Finglas the defiance is simmering,
like a bayonet, shining.
Honest hands put words upon the page,
a volunteer remains bent unto their duty,
the naked truth cannot hide,
standing bare, alone on centre stage,
a Soldier still fights for right, for life.
The soldier featured in the video below and in the work above is Dr Tom Clonan a retired army officer, author and security expert.
Soldier Still is about violence. A new dance theatre work that blends movement, text, music, real stories and real people, creating a harrowing tale of beauty and brutality. A cast of Irish and international dancers and former soldiers collaborate with an exceptional creative team to explore the viciousness, the vulnerability and the trauma of violence. Previous Artists-in-Residence at Tate Britain, award-winning Junk Ensemble have built a reputation in Ireland as dance innovators.
“Junk Ensemble has created some of the most impressive contemporary dance in Ireland … Enthralling and exact.” The Sunday Times