There is a popular public house in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter named the John Hewitt. I am delighted with this name …
When I was first introduced (by Brother Barney Liston, of course) to the poem Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold, I was fascinated.
We were all philosophers
Our opinions strong and sure
We had no thought of violence
Till war came to our door …
I do not like the other sort
They’re tricky and they’re sly
An’ couldn’t look you in the face
Whenever they pass by …
Many today listen to the song “Grace” without a thought for Joseph Mary Plunkett, the 1916 Easter Rising leader and martyr, yet he is the hero of that dirgeful ballad (though not, of course, its author). It is still sung at almost every Irish wedding and weekly in Singing Lounges throughout the length and breadth of the country. Even as I type, the tune runs through my head.
Parading a musty clop along the mall;
Redbrick and granite should glimmer in their boast.
Razing a glint in bier-garten toast,
I’m jealous – their sip, lip-locked – I’m enthralled.
The chivalrous sweat in musical droves,
Saluting the weather with world-weary wink.
The steeples, serene, without rain to drink:
A clan wry, a-flowing – a city of mauve.
Borderline bubble I love you so well.
I source you for boredom, ’tis true, ’tis true,
For dryness can seem here the hottest of hells
But I would be dead if ’twas not for you –
A cynic. A liar. A lover. A son –
A soul wracked to bone mass from valley-sought glue.
Last evening at Newry Film Club we enjoyed an unusual offering “Departures” which focused on death, its meaning and how the ‘crossing’ causes us to reflect on the meaning of life.
The following poem by James Patterson has ‘McGinn’ observing, and reflecting upon his own lifeless corpse.
Accomplished Newry poet, James Patterson has been good enough to offer a few of his works for publication here, and we are honoured and delighted. I know the ‘seed and breed’ of the man, as we’d say locally, and am delighted to make the acquaintance of the third generation. I do hope I was not the inspiration for this first poem of his!
I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.