One of my favorite poems.
Orange Drums, Tyrone, 1966
The lambeg balloons at his belly, weighs
Him back on his haunches, lodging thunder
Grossly there between his chin and his knees.
He is raised up by what he buckles under.
Each arm extended by a seasoned rod,
He parades behind it. And though the drummers
Are granted passage through the nodding crowd
It is the drums preside, like giant tumours.
To every cocked ear, expert in its greed,
His battered signature subscribes ‘No Pope’.
The pigskin’s scourged until his knuckles bleed.
The air is pounding like a stethoscope.