The author doesn’t mention whether he thinks the bombing right or wrong, which is refreshing in a time when everyone has an opinion about the freedom of Ireland from England. The title is confusing, making the reader think that this is going to be about celebrations, and it turns out to be about a bomb.
The use of punctuation words means there is a running theme through out the poem “raining exclamation marks…an asterisk on the map….hyphenated line….punctuated”. A meaning that could be taken from this is that sentences are one of a few things that differ us from animals. The fact that he was “trying to complete a sentence in his head” speaks volumes about his state of mind at the time.
It is odd that he has used (?) in the poem as a good poem shouldn’t need to have unanswered questions at the end. The (?) are used for effect and also mean that he doesn’t have to formulate an opinion about what’s happening, an opinion that could upset those around him. The (?) also allow the reader to make up their own opinion.
By saying “Saracen, Kremlin-2 mesh. Makrolon face-shields. Walkie-talkies”, he gives the reader an inhuman picture of the army by depicting it as a collection of military equipment, intimidating in its coldness. The actual sound of the line too with the predominant consonant “k” and heavily fragmented lines contribute to this effect.
Also, I think that when Ciaran Carson says “Balaclava, Raglan, Inkerman, Odessa Street- why can’t I escape?” he is unsure of an area that he knows because of everything that is happening. He is also, maybe unintentionally, dropping names as freely as confetti.