To conclude my series of musings on my homeland, here's the prettier pics I promised and a poem.
In Northern Ireland
Whole valley vistas at a stretch rise into view
Dotted with barns, farms and random bungalows
Driving through the green hills of home,
along fresh tarmaced, pristine dashed roads
Of unexpected dips and zed-bends
Set off by lurid verges
Glistening from the last rain.
A backdrop of mountains,
Alternating between the road to myself
Not a speed camera in sight,
Or trapped behind a tractor.
Occasionally I’m tailed
For miles and miles
By some BMW that should have overtook
Then a rear view mirror check
Reveals a tiny farmer’s wife
Straining to peer above the wheel.
Hay bales poking out the boot.
Red, white and blue kerbstones by decorated flagpoles
Announce a middle of nowhere, Orange Hall.
Eventually the village
A collection of 60’s council houses beside an old church
A high-wire fenced, sandbag-surrounded, Police Station
And a chemist.
All smothered in hanging baskets,
Riotous flowers trying to escape
From the regimented gardens and
Fresh painted street furniture of red, white and blue.
Best-Kept Village competition is fierce round here
And this village has won five times.
Beyond, a bleak and desolate stretch
An RUC officer was blown up along here in 1978
Near the checkpoint, long gone
I remember it vaguely on the News
His three we’ans will be grown by now,
In the new Police Service of Northern Ireland? I wonder
But apart from the odd hotspot of hatred, it’s really ok.
People ask ‘how ‘bout you?’
Say they’re ‘sorry for your trouble’
And drive bloody good cars.
© LS King 2004