from slugger’s poet in residence

from slugger’s poet in residence

Hoping this works…(am used to blogger). Here’s my first official post. Been interesting to watch developments in Kilkeel (especially post-fish poem!). If anyone wants to view (and comment on the site so far (I’m waiting for another main contributer) go to

Anyway, this is based on an interview with a local man who wants (but struggles to) attract the Unionist community into his (Catholic) household.

Reconciliation is a good thing – but there’s a lot of areas it doesn’t work in – when you talk about reconciliation you’re talking about Protestant and Catholic coming together and working out what they agree on – because there’s too much…and there’s completely Unionist in one area and Catholic another.

We are in a Catholic area but we never seem to cross and go to people’s houses – having some conversation- there seems to be – as you say – crossing the line

I do [things] for the chest heart and stroke association and the women’s institution but I never see any of them coming across the divide this way that’s my opinion – they don’t come across the divide…but we live the same isle – person, neighbours, friends but they never darken my door.


what makes sense makes no sense in the shortest run
what’s in the longest run is in the best interest of us all
what makes the interest then is when we’re forced to do
what living’s says we should – mix up and call….

the path to the door is yours my friend
and the door on the path is wide
though wide is the gap between doors my friend
(and born on the other side)

and the door on the path is wide my friend
and the table is set for more
what’s laid on the table is yours my friend
and nothing is lacking (though poor)

and the table is set for more my friend
the road to the peace draws long
what steps we take – break down walls – my friend
we must learn each other’s songs

what’s laid on the table is yours my friend
what will not be taken’s not forced
the peace that we crave is more – my friend
than can be made without keeping score

and nothing is lacking (though poor) my friend
what’s lacking is you at the door
each word that i speak is yours (my friend)
and news that we share tells more

and the table is set for more – my friend
and the cloth is spread out for keeps
the craic that we’ll have is the joy that we’ll have
and the process will grow more deep
yes the process will grow more deep

  • John Maynard

    That’s pretty bad.
    It’s still better than this though:

    Modern Times

    It is said we live in modern times,
    In the civilised year of ‘seventy nine,
    But when I look around, all I see,
    Is modern torture, pain, and hypocrisy.

    In modern times little children die,
    They starve to death, but who dares ask why?
    And little girls without attire,
    Run screaming, napalmed, through the night afire.

    And while fat dictators sit upon their thrones,
    Young children bury their parents’ bones,
    And secret police in the dead of night,
    Electrocute the naked woman out of sight.

    In the gutter lies the black man, dead,
    And where the oil flows blackest, the street runs red,
    And there was He who was born and came to be,
    But lived and died without liberty.

    As the bureaucrats, speculators and presidents alike,
    Pin on their dirty, stinking, happy smiles tonight,
    The lonely prisoner will cry out from within this tomb,
    And tomorrow’s wretch will leave its mother’s womb!

    Bobby Sands

  • Justin

    John, you need some self confidence as you obviously lack any. Good day.

  • circles

    I take it your still afraid John.
    I mean there’s so much bad poetry out there that its a bit of a coincidence that you happen to choose Bobby Sands as an example. You won’t change the past, nor how people see him, so what was the use of your post?
    Any chance of you putting up some of your own?

  • John Maynard

    I don’t write poetry – or pretend to either.
    I’ve been reading some of the starving bard’s work in recent days after Susan McKay made an observation on its awfulness in her last column.
    It really is atrocious – summing up so much of the intellectual death that is life in the north.
    Still, Circles, I’m not expecting much literary awareness from someone who doesn’t even know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’. I’m also not expecting much worthwhile argument from a man who resorts to shouting “You(‘)r(e) afraid” at anyone who fails to fall for the Sinn Fein death cult.

  • dave wood

    now – you lot – break it up ; )

    Like the creativity from the rest of the project, the poem was created to reflect the atmosphere of (local) reconciliation. This particular one tries to mirror the wishes of a local character grappling with his own situation in the the peace process. You may not respect (or enjoy) my poem, but I’d be interested to hear other more personal reflections. After all – we’re all human…(well, I try to be)

  • John Maynard

    It is pointless to try writing poetry on the local political situation. Everyone knows there’s no word that rhymes with ‘orange’.

  • Dave Wood


    Should we consider using assonance…

    st-range, arrange…or free verse?

    I’m sure there’s even more metaphors in there somewhere.

  • Cahal
  • I wonder how much public funding Dave Wood and his group has got for producing this almighty pile of crap?
    It’s a willingness to fund this sort of shite that really gets my goat. Surely if any cash was spent (ahem, wasted) on this it could have been directed into a better reconciliation programme.

  • Reader

    DW: the craic that we’ll have is the joy that we’ll have
    Strange spelling of crack…

  • Fraggle

    “Everyone knows there’s no word that rhymes with ‘orange’.”

    How about ‘sponge’?

  • darth rumsfeld

    My name is little Bobby Sands
    How many died at my friends’ hands?
    To satisfy our mad demands
    We followed Gerry’s sick commands;
    Took death to many foreign lands;
    At Enniskillen blew up bands;

    Can I get a grant now please?

  • Miss Fitz

    Thats in poor taste, and an insult to the work done by Dave and the people at Cnoc na Feola.

    I cant imagine any great level of grant being available for this project, and certainly any of the work I did was on a voluntary basis.

    I’m pleased Mick has re-inforced the commenting policy, as some of the contributions here have done nothing to raise the level of debate on reconciliation, but merely shown the contributors to be juvenille and unhelpful

  • darth rumsfeld

    Miss Fitz
    I confess to having no respect for any poet, and particularly one who sees poetry as a means of reconcilaition in an area where a nasty sectarian campaign of murder thrived(throve?) for decades. That said, each person’s truth is their own, and if it works for you ignore me.

    I was attempting to pick up from John Maynard’s quotation, which exposed the pretentions of a thug to glorify his stunted political views by donning the garb of the warrior bard- an idea as ludicrous to me as the reconciliator bard. But re-reading the truly execrable pome wot Bobby wrote ( my first exposure to his opus) I realise that all true poets-even the ones who cheat by not bothering to rhyme :0)- will be insulted to see that puerile effort called poetry.

    Yup juvenile and unhelpful. Can’t deny the cap fits comfortably.

  • na

    I have no time for poetry but…

    The only problem
    with Haiku is that you just
    get started and then

    ~Roger McGough

  • I mentioned on

    It’d be interesting to see what the Protestant community is like in his area. Maybe they don’t visit each other or call in with their Protestant neighbours. It could be that he thinks it’s because he is a Catholic and that hasn’t anything to do with it?

    dave wood said…
    Not sure Cyber. If anyone out there can bring this out into discussion, it would be appreciated.

    The man’s obviously genuine. I suppose the question is, do you deliberately go and seek to bring people into your house, whatever their values, simply for reconciliation’s sake? If you don’t. how do you keep the ball rolling?