Monday, 8 April 2019

A poem about Downpatrick, County Down

This poem recalls my initial impressions of the town of Downpatrick, County Down, which I visited on St Patrick's Day this year.  As the burial place of St Patrick, it is a very significant location for the St Patrick's Day parades, and I collected many photographs and videos of the parade and celebrations, but before the parade its self, I walked from Down Cathedral to the town square, and watched musicians and dancers there and in the town's museum.  The poem recounts these experiences.  It is a work-in-progress, and I'm not entirely happy about the "shyly smiling" line, as this is more suggestive of an English than Irish temperament, though it is perhaps a nod to my own presence in the poem, as an Englishman abroad, so to speak.


A town in tiers
like a ladder,
to climb you
is to join the dots
from one church to another.

The long main road,
bracketed by spires,
old industry
and the skeletons of trains
tapers by the square
where we watched the centuries
unravelling in dance,

the town become a stage
music throbbing through its veins,
as the spires of Down Cathedral
pierce the clouds,
we clap, shyly smile,
and slowly sway beneath the rain.

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