Your man, says the Man, will walk into the bar like this--here his fingers
Mimic a pair of legs, one stiff at the knee--so you'll know exactly
What to do. He sticks a finger to his head. Pretend it's child's play--
The hand might be a horse's mouth, a rabbit or a dog. Five hand claps.
Walls have ears; the shadows you throw are the shadows you try to throw off.
I snuffed out the candle between finger and thumb. Was it the left hand
Hacked off at the wrist and thrown to the shores of Ulster? Did Ulster
Exist? Or the Right hand of God, saying Stop to this and No to that?
My thumb is the hammer of a gun. The thumb goes up. The thumb goes down.
There are three images here about the hand. First, the hand makes shapes in the light of the candle, as if it is the shadow play game that amuses children.
Second, Labraid of the Red Hand is an important hero in Irish literature, a man who cut off his hand to become the King of Ireland. Later, the importance Labraid placed on Irish kingship was used as a symbol of Irish self-rule against the English. It is older than "The Troubles." The Red Hand appears on the coat of arms for Ulster, the district that is Northern Ireland, capital city of Belfast.
Third, the hand with the least presence in the room, is the hand of God.
Throughout this poem, I think Mr. Carson emphasizes the hand because the mind and the heart are not to be engaged. The references to hands and play emphasize the facelessness, mindlessness, and manipulation (another hand word) necessary to commit terrorist acts.
The poem also conveys the drama. We cannot leave any of these things out when thinking about motivated yet motiveless modern terrorism. Mr. Carson packed all this in less words then I just did. And I am sure there is more here--if anyone wants to mention--