‘Has Haass been?’ – by Randall Stephen Hall


This wee poem is a bit of a ranting ramble.

But I’m sure it reflects how many of us feel here

in Northern Ireland with regard to Richard Haass

and his recent attempts to help us resolve our past,

how to give voice to the many silent victims of the Troubles

and our insatiable love of flags.


I am mystified, by the burst and stolen balloon of the Haass talks.

Once, so full of buoyant hot air.

Mystified by the silence of our leaders, upon “Haass” as if,

like death, they are unable to speak of it.


Has Haass been?

By Randall Stephen Hall. 20.3.14 ©



Has Haass been?

Has Haass been and gone?

Gone and done it?


What happened to Haass?

Has Haass gone?

Has the swan sung

To only be replaced by the fat lady?

Eating chips and a dirt burger

As usual?


Riding her old stubborn mule

Smoking an untipped cigarette

Towards Easter

And the gates of our divided community?


Golgotha gated, over-rated

And taking up the time

Of the likes of Richard Haass.

A poached intellect from America.

Sunny side up.

Fried, over here and swimming

In our local juices.

Saliva rhetoric

Salt and fat dripping, from our tongues.


Only for number one.

Only for number one.


What happened to Richard Haass?

Was he over here just for the blast?

Who clamped his hands

Upon our double yellow?

Bonnie buis and very mellow, he seemed.

Dreaming up a shared future

For all of us . . .

From the thin gruel of our past.


U.S.A Celebrity chef with a new recipe.

Wanting us to take a sniff

And maybe a spoonful.

Only to have the full meal

Taken from under our noses.

With the aroma and anticipation

Still hanging in the air.

The air of a northern nowhere.


I don’t see.

I just don’t see

What our politicians

Did for me . . .

For me, or for Richard Haass?


Who deceived whom

And who sang the tune?

What failed to fly

In that wee tight Belfast room?


Patronised people once again.

There we were, just looking on.

At such profound potential,

Now singing us . . . no song at all.


These ideas, like drowned kittens.

Stuffed in a bag and shoved

Where the air can’t supply life.

My God!

Oh, my God!

What have “youse-uns” done

With your dark wee pocket knife?


But, the time has passed.

Did Richard Haas just blow it out his ass?

I don’t think so . . .

But I know who did.

And I know who still contiue to do so . . .


For up upon a hill

Up upon a height.

There they spend their time

Both day and night

Just talking . . .

Just talking . . .

Just talking up . . . themselves.

They think they have the right.


They never hunt the elephant

In the room.

These balloons never burst

Or bust a gut for you and me.

Never “up the anti”.

Attempt to set us free

From their need for our votes.


This joke of long standing.


They continue to blight the land

With their poor parenting skills.

The baby needs a feed!

The baby needs a feed!

But they haven’t the bottle.


They run from their duties

Like a distant Victorian father.

Like manys an average Ultan.

A badly drawn, Desperate Dan.

All rough stubble,

Standing in an empty field.

Expecting the sun to rise

Only for them, and them alone.


Neither walking the walk

Or talking the talk.

Their sticky, silvery words trail away . . .

Like repressed and blind wee snails.


Mollusc, monkish.

Going around and around.

Only making money

With just no sound

For me . . .

Or for us.

They constantly fail to catch the peace bus

From Stormont.


Manys a money making mollusc

Hides in his or her shell.

Smelling the coffee

Yet, refusing to waken up

To our new Spring morning

Nor accept their lost jobs and votes

As a necessity to peace and progress

For Nornia.


These snails still ride the mob

To ensure their regular employ.

And the joy of the open tap,

Dripping honey

Upon their shells, boys.


So who will make a fuss over Haass for us?

Turn over tables to exile the money changers

From out the Stormont temple?


Who will rouse our attention

From the rooftops

That someone has stolen

Our golden Easter egg

From Richard Haass?


Should wee beg

From these foxes

In the maze upon the hill?

Beg for Richard’s egg, back in our basket?

What hack could do that for us now?


To whom can we run

On such a small island

So lacking in imagination?


The miracle fish and bread

From Haass’s head,

Could feed all our ghosts

In this, the land of the passed on

The passed over and unfed.


Yet the dead all wait

For some new spirit to arrive.

Counting the cost

Of their short lives

With a bankrupt, prolonged silence

From the fools on the hill.


All our dead,

Still waiting to be heard.

A broken, four leafed clover bed.

Waiting for the warm milk

From Richard Haass.


Our political standards

Like soiled rags,

Hang at half mast.

A dirty and rusting

Barbed wire washing line.

While our leaders . . .

(Our leaders?)

Fail to grasp, take hold

The sharp, stinging nettles

And curling brambles

Growing from out our dark shambles

And para-militant corners.


My conclusion is

Our lost leaders

Haven’t got what it takes.

Like limp, rubbery garden rakes.

All handle and no hoe.

No Martin Luther Kings here.

Oh no . . .

Just a basket of snakes.


But snakes can be healers too.

Should they choose to use their tongues

To lick our wounds.

Instead of sucking up

To their local number ones

Both the Taig and the Hun.

A rare united front.


No Mahatma Gandhis either

No human humming birds.

Their parliamentary coloured plumage

(Whatever the shade or colour),

Revealing nothing but the absurd.


They’ll rattle all their china.

They’ll always let you down

With sweet tea and excuses.

But Richard Haass has gone . . .

Gone . . .

And they have got his crown.

This Easter

Local robber barons

Are still around.


Was I just dreaming

As they spent millions

Upon millions, of pounds

For just a bunch

Of forget me knots?


Richard who?

Richard why?

Richard what?

Richard how?

Richard when?

Richard what if . . . ?


Richard Haass has been and gone

And they all “done him in” like . . .


Who will free Richard’s rag

To fly?

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