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Saturday, 29 May 2010

Ode to Carrickfergus - from an exiled son.

I'm just back from my annual visit to Carrickfergus, in order to tend to my parents' grave. Today, I was greatly helped by my second cousin, Jackie who, with Karen and young Rachel, have been such good friends for many a year. I am very grateful to them for all of their assistance.

Just over seven years ago, while sitting in the Ferry Terminal at Larne Harbour, I jotted down the following. It's maybe time to share those passing thoughts!

Old Carrick town - my childhood home;
What memories you hold
Of days gone by, when I was young,
'Though you, already old!

Your castle, built on ancient rock,
has guarded you so well
o'er centuries of conflict;
as other bards do tell.

Within its walls I often played,
when I was but a boy;
and every time I gaze on it
my heart is filled with joy.

St Nicholas' spire doth upward point;
'minds us of God above
Who, through the Son, at Calvary,
did show to us His love.

On Fisherman's Pier I often sat -
my dad was there to watch -
but length of string, and V-shaped pin,
left me without a catch!

At Joymount end, the Town Hall stands;
its stage I knew so well
when, as a lad, I medals won -
as 'Feis' records will tell.

The Big Lamp, and the Tramway bridge,
Legg Park, and Shaftesbury, too;
the Model, and the old Barn School;
all memories hold of you.

The North Road graveyard - special place;
my parents' grave is there.
Indeed, their deaths the reason why
my visits, now, are rare.

So, in the autumn of my life,
my thoughts towards you turn;
and, for those days in Carrick town
I find I often yearn.

And 'though I live a hundred years,
or go a thousand miles;
the thought of you, old Carrick town,
will wreathe my face in smiles.

But only death can bring me back,
when parents' grave I tend;
and, on that somewhat solemn note,
my Ode to you must end.

Easter Day. April 20th 2003.

1 comment:

CWF said...

That was really lovely, almost had a wee tear over it.