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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Readings by Galway Arts Centre poetry workshop participants at Westside Library

On Wednesday, January 9th & Wednesday January 16th at Westside Library, Seamus Quirke Road, there will be reading by participants in the pre-Christmas poetry workshops facilitated by Kevin Higgins at Galway Arts Centre.

Both readings start at 6.45pm.

The next round of poetry workshops facilitated by Kevin Higgins at Galway Arts Centre commence the week of January 21st. To book a place contact victoria@galwayartscentre.ie phone 091-565886 or call in to Galway Arts Centre, 47 Dominick Street, Galway.

Below is a poem by Deirdre Kearney, a participant in the Thursday afternoon Advanced Poetry Workshop.


Omagh 1971

Competing steeples vie for Godliness
on the hilltop of the sacred plain.
French Gothic spires overshadow
the Church of Ireland’s single steeple.
Not one, but two, straining skywards
for the greater honour and glory of almighty God.

Nearby, Camowen and Drumragh merge,
Forcing the Strule swiftly towards the Fairy Water.
Freshwater trout thrust their way up the Salmon Leap
evading eager anglers at the Lovers’ Retreat
where pearls, once prised from mussels’ jaws
equalled those of the Orient.

On Corradinna Hill the Mass Rock still guards the faith
where Penal Laws were flouted on moor and bog
till Drumragh stone and thatch were blessed
by the ridge of the ring-fort nestled in the drumlins.
Buinne BuĂ­’s stone altar now Italian marble
and the Gortmore pewter chalice restored.

Tricolours fly over O’Kane Park with matching kerbstones
and the Union Jack responds from McCain Close.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians hosts Saturday night dances
under the watchful eye of the Sacred Heart Church,
while the poppy-strewn War Memorial glares down
as rival revellers emerge from the Orange Hall.

At closing time The Highland chipper reverberates
with the Geordie accents of sappers in civvies
ordering “Two fish suppers, mate”.
Castle Street and Campsie disgorge their foot soldiers
and the Battle of the Boyne is re-enacted
to the baffled bemusement of the boy soldiers
who only ever wanted to play Action Man.

Gallows Hill sighs in its sleep
as ghosts of Cromwellian soldiers
set up their artillery once more on Cannon Hill
sun rises over muralled ramparts
as the hum of the helicopters hovering
lulls lovers back to sleep

Deirdre Kearney