‘”be a soldier!” says the nun / To the woman after giving birth’

Padraic Fiacc is probably the most under-rated of the Heaney generation of Northern Irish poets. To prove my point, this is the first few lines of ‘Soldiers’:

The altar boy marches up the altar steps.
The priest marches down. ‘Get up now
And be a solider!’ says the nun
To the woman after giving birth, ‘Get up now
And march, march: Be a man!’

And the men are men and the women are men
And the children are men!

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