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This poem is taken from PN Review 236, Volume 43 Number 6, July - August 2017.

Four Poems Thomas McCarthy
Field Hospital, 1917

Love, though I am trying to dump when my bowels won’t move
I’m still proud to have lost a limb for Ireland. It is not too bad

To lose just an arm. There were never any guarantees, as Mr
Redmond said that night in Waterford. No point being sad

When your number’s up. Shrapnel burst low over the fire-bay,
My flesh became clay. I was wearing a woman’s white undergarment

As camouflage in snow. Frost and minenwerfers, the grand scream
Of shells in a blizzard: Tommy Mason, Walter Barron, Cappoquin men

All gone down. Are we paying too high a price for this parliament
Of our own? Home is so personal when you’re in pain,

It seems ghoulish to want a nation. I moan and think how you
Looked in your Jubilee Nurse uniform. I may have lost an arm,

Waterford woman, but I still want an armful of you. Now this
Auxiliary nurse from Carlyle checks my pulse and says ‘Well

Done, well done.’ With chloroform I can’t do a thing. I can only
...


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