The Song of Belfast, a poem by Gaynor Kane at

The Song of Belfast

The Song of Belfast

written by: Gaynor Kane



I am         broken clay pots and sharpened slate
hollows, hills and little woods
the giants ring and chambered cairn
a cleaved hand, O’Neills grave, home, throne
castles, fields and steppingstones

I am         townlands of Martin, McArt, Murphy
Docks – ships with funnels and ships with sails
the ringing bell in every church tower–
Holy Cross, St. Patrick’s, St. Mark’s, St. Anne’s
a limestone City Hall with verdegris domes

I am         the feel of linen, rope, wood and iron
the sound of the yard’s siren and cruise ship’s horns
the smell of whiskey, tobacco, coal, and farls
the bubbles in C&C lemonade popping
and slow settling pints in the Morning Star

I am         a peace agreement signed on a Good Friday
a leaning clock and two yellow cranes
a moody Lagan under a thunder cloud of starlings
the Oval and Windsor Park, the Glens and the Blues
oil painted eggs in Vicky Park beside an airport with a curfew

I am         the paint peeling murals and rusty wired peacewalls
nicknames and pat-on-the-back putdowns
statues that never get their formal names–
the big fish, the balls on the falls
Nuala with the hula, thing with the ring, belle on the ball

When         will we all walk these streets in safety?
Where shall we go, across bridges and through barriers?
Which voices will unite in call and response?
How         will they know that hope is a song?
Who         holds my heart in their hands?

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