Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

Hill 880 – a poem

By Michael J. Whelan

Michael J. Whlean served as a peacekeeper with the Irish Army in South Lebanon and Kosovo. He was 2nd Place Winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 2011 and selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series in 2012. His poems and short stories have been published in Cyphers, Crannog and The Moth. (

HILL 880

(Irish UN position

South Lebanon)


Tonight, senses steeled against

the black sky, we listen for the warring

shadows. The storm is almost upon us.

Bursts of coloured tracer attack the hill,

bouncing over lost horizons.

Phosphorous lights explode,

illuminating battered landscapes of death.

Below the thunder they cower

in the dancing veil again and again.


They who do battle here, fear this night also.

But we who keep the middle ground will feel

the vibrations of their vengeance.

Our presence does not halt their conflict.

Braced against the fury, we don our blue

helmets, cursing, send prayers to mothers

a thousand miles away.

The ground trembles beneath our rising flares,

burning red against the moonless heavens,