Thursday, 1 May 2008

The North Antrim Coast & Other Bits

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


Anonymous said...

I tell you, it sounds just like Wales and it looks a lot like it too.

You're lucky though to have a place like that to go back to whenever you want. It is kind of grounding I find, I always feel like I am travelling back to the 1950s (not that I remember them!) when I go back to Wales. I always get a real shock when I see a computer or something and think "that shouldn't be there, shouldn't they be using a sliderule or a typewriter."

Good to see a poem again too - I like them a lot.

Anonymous said...

Riotous flowers, yes indeed.
Nicely done.
Ah, photos of home. Moving.

Lucy Fishwife said...

I know the cliche Ireland is the soft green Southern kind, but I really REALLY prefer the rockier wilder North. Lovely photies and lovely poem!

Rol said...

I was about to say that the holiday has obviously been a terrific source of inspiration... then I noticed the copyright date.

Did you get the chance to write anything new while you were away?

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous photos! Thanks for sharing those and the poem. I feel like I justs took a little mini vacation. :)

Steve said...

A curious mix of bleakness and warmth - and the photos reflected the poem nicely. Never been to Ireland... but would dearly love to.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

RB - Actually going back is more a bitter/sweet experience for various reasons, but I can't deny it has it's high points and catching up with childhood friends is one of them!

Thanks Nearside. And for your cute Friday kittens too - I would have left a comment only you evidently don't welcome Bloggers on your Journal!

LucyFishWife, certainly the North is less cliched than the South in holdiay brochures. But it's rapidly catching up!

Rol, unfortunately family matters precluded much on the creativity front on this occasion - but I did re-work this poem recently so at least a third of it was written in 2008!

Teeni thanks - I'll be dining out at your tea room shortly (it's been a frantic week!)

Steve you are right - NI is a mixed bag of all kinds of things and evokes a curious mix of emotions while there. Bleakness and beauty have seldom danced so cheek-to-cheek.

Old Fogey said...

Photos take me back forty years to my last year at university, when we came over to study the ladscape around the Giant's Causeway. I thought it such a beautiful part of the British Isles.

The Sagittarian said...

Maybe becuae my mum's maiden name is Jameson, but I have always had a fondness for irish stuff! Lovely pix - keep writing too, good stuff.

Brother Tobias said...

Evocative poem - Thanks. I love the whin when it is out; that extravagent gold, and the snapping of it in sunshine, and the nutty scent when you crush the flowers. Reminds me of the Hebrides (where we have our own hexagonal rocks).

Anonymous said...

Alas! LiveJournal is a bit mean in that it won't let you leave comments! Perhaps I'll allow anonymous comments then, just in case you stop by again.

I'm glad you liked the Friday Kittens - maybe I'll make it a regular feature!