Reconciliation exercise with Dave Wood

A little more from our resident poet, Dave Wood and his reconciliation project in the Mournes. Dave is telling us about one of his days, and his interaction with some of the people he met. The writings that follows are based on the idea of using the word reconciliation as an acrostic base, with each of the first letters of the word reconciliation running down the left side of the page, and a word or image starting with that letter. Why dont you guys have a go at it, and we’ll see what we get.
background to morning of 22nd June – creative reconciliation project

Interesting day…. Knowing that the bus service to Kilkeel was not that often (after all, it doesn’t necessarily need to be) I made sure I caught the 9.45am outside the local garage/shop/supplier of virtually everything. I collared Sean who happily talked to me and then created a piece of writing.
I spent my time going into shops which weren’t so busy and talking to the proprietors and/or assistants about the project. I briefly explained what I was funded for and asked them to create a poem with me supporting (but not suggesting) their ideas about reconciliation.

Most were happy (though some a little reticent) to oblige, except for the Christian Book Shop who doubted herself too much to help. One shopkeeper was rightly pleased with her output and said she was never encouraged to write at school. The pleasure at creating the first piece encouraged her to produce a second.

The structures of the poems had to accommodate the notion of it being a five minute walk in workshop. I used reconciliation as an acrostic base (the letters of the word running down the left hand side of the page with each letter starting an idea or image) as well as asking them questions to produce creative responses and hence form a poem. This is just a smell selection. None of them have been edited.

poems from 22nd June – various sources

no title

realistically its unlikely to see a change in my day
education is the only way to move things forward
creative in the way we go about it
overall view is youre safer in this community than ten years ago
negative point of view (thats maybe the way i see it after thirty years
i cant think of anything beginning with i
likely things will improve but it will be slowly
i cant think of anything beginning with i
a sense of humour youd have to have or its like living in beirut
travel is more likely now the bombing has stopped
i dont know
opportunities such as international investment have been more forthcoming from overseas
nice to see things changing slowly even if it is slow then its nice to see the change


break down barriers between two communities
a brick wall
(like the brick wall in berlin)

(its only the social side the churches and education board to blame
the education system and churches
have no communication outside their own religious backgrounds
even sport in northern ireland was segregated)

bred in to them like
a category of animals
only one way of looking at things

if you landed from mars tomorrow
thats the only way youd see it

past and present

coming together peacefully
sorting out differences
a hammer
a knife

– knock the hammer against the wall
two opposing wavelengths
trying to find the middle ground
for the greater good

bury the knife
bury the blockage
under the past
(green and orange
hilly and dark
dry rot maybe)

were used to it
but we want a better life
for all the children
not just mine


putting down guns
picking up flowers
smelling of flowers
hand them to someone
to your enemy

my enemies
something rotten
use a deodoriser
fresh sea air
open spaces
mountain breezes
running water

no title

rest settled
equal all the same
caring about people feelings
coming together
i welcome peace with open arms
inside our minds
action to come together
the end of all tension
i to learn all equal rights
over is the war
never to go back

they become one

smells like roses
smooth and not prickly
bunch them together
theyd become one big bunch
theyd stay together
theyd become one

probably peace