As my late father frequently remarked, "Experience is the best school but the fees are often high."
With catapult, once school was finished,
I went to hunt in woodland, high
above Belfast, in summer light
and heard, among leafed branches spread,
a blackbird, singing like a bell.
I took aim, shot; the missile flew ...
... unerringly, my aim was true.
With awful suddenness it fell,
all broken. Exultation fled,
to be replaced by sickly fright.
I knelt to watch it slowly die.
Within me somewhere, light diminished.