July 12th, 1998, In County Antrim
Author: Shiloh


I have seen the children suffer
as war raged around them,
and their faces registered the shock and the fear
and the outrage and the incomprehension
of the things happening to their lives.

I understood, too well,
how they were questioning, in their own ways,
trying to make sense and understand
how and why these things were happening,
to them, to their families, to the life they once knew...

Children are always the ones who suffer the most
in any conflict, be it military or any other kind,
and they are the ones least regarded by those
who are the ones who cause such pain...
and no one bothers to consider them at all.

Such was the case in Carnany, Ballymoney, County Antrim,
at 4:30 on a Sunday morning,
when an Irish Loyalist firebombed a house
because a Catholic woman and a Protestant man lived there...
... with their children.

There are a few things in this world,
in history, in life,
even in my own experience,
that I will never be able to understand,
no matter how much I think about them.

Man's inhumanity to man,
in many and various forms,
is so far out of my ability to understand,
that even though I know some of the reasons given,
I am still unable to accept that these things happened.

Two adults, four children,
one away at relatives, thankfully,
and of that family,
three young, innocent children died
because of - what! - Politics? Religion?

Jason Quinn was seven years old.
Mark Quinn was nine years old.
Richard Quinn was ten years old.
They were good boys, sleeping in their beds,
and that was why they were killed.

They had no chance.
The gasoline bomb did a good job of burning,
and it also did a good job of killing,
and the ones who threw the bomb
felt justified in doing so, for some insane reason.

Nations can go to war, armies against armies,
and countries can have civil unrest and bloodshed
for reasons of politics or religion,
but when children are hurt or killed,
there is no way to justify it at all.

Jason, Mark, and Richard, and their parents
and their surviving brother,
were guilty of being humans in a society gone completely mad,
where life has no value and conscience died long ago.
And it is still going on in Ireland.

Catholic? Protestant? What difference does that make?
Why should it mean that children die?
Why should it mean that people do horrible, unspeakable things...
in the name of their beliefs...? in the name of their religion...?
There is no justification - none at all.

Today Jason would have been nineteen.
Mark would have been twenty-one.
Richard would have been twenty-two.
Their surviving brother, Lee, is twenty-four,
and he grew up without his brothers.

There was a slight bit of outrage in the world press,
and some official actions were taken in Ireland,
but nothing will ever bring the three children back.
A family was shattered, three little boys died,
and that seems to be the way it is for children...

It still continues today,
and no one can explain... Why?


Comments on this poem/writing:

Meridian ( -- Friday, April 30 2010, 02:14 am

Very moving

Shiloh...touching poem. Children, just like, adults do not deserve to die. It is terrible what happened to the Quinn brothers.

I remember one time a poet on the site said your poems, some anyway, are hard to read. They are, because they remind you that there are sinister people in this world that do sinister things to their own kind. But, all of your works are very well written, very descriptive/in-depth, and a lot of them create war scenes. It is evident that you've once served in the military just by reading your work. Very moving Shiloh and a heartfelt dedication to those who lost loved ones due to invalid reasoning.
shiloh ( -- Saturday, May 8 2010, 06:26 am

thank you

your thoughts and comments are appreciated. i don't plan my writing - i just sort of let it happen - a lot of it is actually on auto-pilot, if you will... some research was required for this one, but it has been in the back of my mind for many years, ever since i first read about it in '98, and saw such a stupid waste that took place because one person didn't like the religion of another... i don't think i will ever understand the human animal... and sometimes i doubt that God does, either.
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