Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Friday, 4 August 2017


My old stamping ground, East Belfast, which I revisited recently, is the birthplace of many well-known individuals.
The writer, C S Lewis, grew up there, not half a mile from the house where I was born, and from the same district came actor and director Kenneth Branagh; actor James  Ellis; musicians James Galway, Van Morrison and Gary Moore; writers, St John Ervine and Forrest Reid; playwrights Stewart Parker, Sam Thompson and Marie Jones, and footballer, George Best.  

The recently-opened C S Lewis Square houses a bright new tourist centre where visitors can access information on the city's attractions from interactive screens, interpretative panels and a wall map, connecting people to East Side's famous faces, places and industries. Nearby, visitors can rediscover Lewis's creation, The Chronicles of Narnia with a walk through a public space featuring seven bronze sculptures from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, including Aslan, The White Witch, Mister Tumnus, The Beavers, The Robin and The Stone Table, in a stunning display of public art. 

Have a peep at the amazing statues in C S Lewis Square by clicking here.

Today's poem is, unsurprisingly, an Ulster one, Padraic's Glen from my Strange Journey collection. 


Beneath a cobalt sky, wind blows the barley heads
as wrens, through ragged hedgerows, drop like tears
and all the voices of ten thousand years
converge in one throat piping in the reeds

for here scenes are unchanging and unmoved
by all the petty vanities and schemes
and here remain the valleys, rocks and streams
our fathers and our forefathers have loved.

Here stand the granite stones that knew the shout
and felt the drum-led feet of marching men
and smelt the bloody fear along the glen
of tribes advancing or being driven out

and here the stunted trees that stamp defiant now
on shoulders of dead armies deep beneath the soil
where roots caress the riven shield, despoil
the eyeless socket, yellowed tooth or noble brow.

Beneath a cobalt sky you gathered meadow flowers,
perhaps to capture pieces of this perfect day,
as all-embracing summertime around us lay
and destiny conspired along with earthly powers

to make our bodies bend and shake like barley heads,
our hopes patrol, like warriors, the windy glen,
our hearts to drop like wrens and yet to rise again,
with one proud shout among the swaying reeds.

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