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About the Book
This collection contains about 70 poems extremely diverse in style and treatment. Most of these poems are founded in my own personal experiences as a child in Belfast, as an evacuee in Co. Tyrone in 1941, in my travels in France and America, and in more familiar places like Strangford, Dunluce, Lecale, and most especially the Mountains of Mourne.
Many of the poems are narrative. “Tristan Dubois” is a French officer who landed with Humbert in Mayo in 1798; “Omaha Flynn” is a desperado who has survived the Irish famine and the cruelties of General Custer. There is also a new version of the story of the Children of Lir.
A recurrent theme is the courage of the ordinary people of Belfast. “Ode to a Doffer” was written in praise of all those who toiled in the mills and factories, the foundries and brickyards. Their graves are unmarked but their names are known in heaven as must surely be the names of the poor and destitute who are buried in nameless graves in Milltown and other cemeteries.
A few spiritual verses have been inserted. Perhaps they illustrate the saying that poets rush in where angels fear to tread.
Romantic love – seen from a distance – is also included. I was told that on this subject there is nothing new to be said. I have attempted to belie that statement.
Finally, as a kind of farewell or envoi, is the Poem “Birthday” which records the sorrows and satisfaction of reaching an eightieth anniversary and still paddling on.
About the Author
I spent most of my life learning, teaching, and half-forgetting the French language and I've written a few short stories - and told a lot of long ones - but I never wrote a line of verse until after my retirement.
Eventually, after kilograms of shredded paper I seemed to have tapped into some kind of artesian basin - one of the advantages of having had a long life - and, up to the moment, the waters still come gurgling up from time to time.
I like to think that those who read this book whether near or far, numerous or few, will find in it hope, consolation, amusement, vision, and even, most precious of all, the gift of tears. But I enjoyed writing these poems and that's what really matters in the first instance. To write poetry just for money is foolishness. And to think that anyone, except yourself, can teach you to write poetry is delusion.
“The doffers link elbow to elbow
An’ swing till the end of the street.
They sing like the sun on the rainbow
An’ God help the fellas they meet”
(“Ode to a Doffer” p25 st 6)
“Four children, feeble, broken, old,
Their flowing hair more white than snow,
They kneel as once their father kneeled,
Beside a lake so long ago”
(“Ballad of the Children of Lir” p78 st3)
“But I have been possessed, ordained, by peace.
I kept an infant in my arms,
Before a flame that made all shadows leap,
At darkening of the day”
“Chemised in shimmering silk, the stream shall say,
Who was he, then, that seldom day,
That scanned his verses as he passed my way?”
(“By Trassey Burn” p2)
“Columbus of a newfound world,
One time beyond my mortal ken,
From meeting, throng and randyboo,
I fled the masks and masques of men”
(“November Moon” p97 st1)
The Rushy Field
By Seán Loughran