Monday, February 22, 2010

A Nocturne for Blackpool by Theo Dorgan

Dolphins are coursing in the blue air outside the window
And the sparking stars are oxygen, bubbling to the moon.
At the end of the terrace, unicorns scuff asphalt,
One with her kneck stretched on the cool roof of a car.

A key rasps in a latch, milk bottles click on a sill,
A truck heading for mallow roars, changing gear on a hill.
The electric hum of the brewery whines, then drops in pitch-
Ground bass for the nocturne of Blackpool.

The ghost of Inspecter Swanzy creeps down Hardwick Street,
MacCurtain turns down the counterpain of a bed he'll never sleep in,
Unquiet murmurs scold from the blue-slate roof tops
The death squad no-one had thought to guard against.

The young sunburned hurlers flex in their beds, dreaming of glory,
Great deeds on the playing-fields, half-days from school,
While their slightly older sisters dream of men and pain,
An equation ot be puzzled out again and again.

Walloo Dullea, melodious on the Commons Road, hums airs from Trovatore
The recipe as before, nobody stirs from sleep
And 'Puzzle the Judge', contented, pokes at ashes-
'There's many a lawyer here today could learn from this man.'

North Chapel, The Assumption, Farranferris and Blackpool,
The mass of the church in stone rears like rock from the sea
But the interlaced lanes flick with submarine life
Older than priests can, or want to, understand.

This woman believed Jack Lynch stood next to God, who broke the Republic.
This man beyond, his face turned to the wall, stares at his friend
Whose face will not cease from burning in an icy sea- torpedoed off
Murmasnk from a tanker. He shot him, now nightly he watches him sink.

Here is a woman the wrong side of forty, sightless in her kitchen
As she struggles to make sense of the redundancy notice,
Of her boorish son, just home, four years on the dole, foulmouthed,
Of her husband, who has aged ten years in as many days.

The bells of Shandon jolt like electricity through lovers
In a cold water flat beneath the attic of a house in Hatton's Alley,
The ghost of Frank O' Conor smiles on Fever Hospital Steps
As Mon boys go by, arguing about first pints of stout and Che Guevara.

The unicorns of legend are the donkeys of childhood, nobody
Knows that better than we know it ourselves, but we know also that
Dolphins are coursing through the blue air outside our windows
And the sparking stars are oxygen, bubbling to the moon.

We are who we are and what we do. We study indifference in a hard school
And in a hard time, but we keep the skill to make legend of the ordinary.
We keep an eye to the slow clock of history in Blackpool-
Jesus himself, as they say around here, was born in a stable.

for Mick Hannigan

taken from Sean Dunne's Cork Anthology

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