Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Watercolour by Tony Taylor http://www.paintingbreaksguernsey.com

Saturday, 26 September 2015

OLD GHOSTS

I’m about to make a return visit to Northern Ireland, home of my childhood and, as always on such occasions, ghosts await me.
Looking back on the Nineteen-Fifties, there can be no doubt that children enjoyed an innocence and freedom denied to youngsters today.
In many ways my formative years were idyllic ones but, in the Calvinist environment of Fifties Ulster, even the most innocuous activities held the potential for condemnation by those stern Presbyterian adults who policed our childish world.  

 

JUDGEMENT

They taught me to imagine it
as standing in some lofty hall
while some austere, almighty Judge
would stare at jottings on the chit
I’d brought with me: a hasty scrawl
of  awkward facts I couldn’t fudge,
then, with abrupt, dismissive ire,
condemn me to eternal fire.

I’ve spent my life unlearning things:
discovering that black was white
and vice versa; that we don’t get
happy-ever-after endings;
that things don’t always turn out right;
but somehow this grim childhood threat,
imposed on me like Holy Writ,
won’t be unlearned: I’m stuck with it.

2 comments:

  1. Richard, I love this one,, so true.

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  2. Thanks John. There's a quotation attributed to the Spanish Jesuit, Baltazar Gracian, "Give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man". For better or for worse, it appears to be true.

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