“You recall the gesture, I remember cars on fire”

Just to prove Pete isn’t the only blogger with a half decent ear for a line of poetry, here’s a piece by Fred Johnston, that I first read in South Magazine in April 2006, and which I finally got permission from the author to ‘reprint’ on Slugger, just when my copy of the magazine disappeared in the morass of bookshelves here at Slugger Central. It has finally re-emerged. And I am very grateful for the author’s permission!

MAO-ING

At Carnsore Point there was a young man
Shouting at the crowd, preaching, passionate
In his way. Was this for show?

I carried a copy of the Little Red Book
In the back pocket of my jeans. I marched
In Newry. What was it about?

We differ in distance from what we were:
Miles and miles, a drip of years-
You recall the gesture, I remember cars on fire.

Both of us were what we would become
Even then. Now we accuse each other
On the air of selling out this, buying that.

Mao is dead. Ireland’s still hooked up
To familiar grids, parish wells of thought:
What we sold cost more than what we bought.

Fred Johnston

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  • Pete Baker

    “half decent ear for a line of poetry”

    Half decent?

    *Harrumph*

    Good poem though.

    Mao is dead. Ireland’s still hooked up
    To familiar grids, parish wells of thought:
    What we sold cost more than what we bought.

  • mic23

    patronizers anonymous

  • perci feeney

    I love brian feeney
    he’s not a fenian weenie
    he may not be shay heaney
    but he tastes just like martini.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Here’s a wee tongue in cheek one I prepared earlier. It’s dedicated to Fair Deal, as he’s obviously the only ‘yin’ who can ‘translate’ it ;op

    Wha sez braid poetry’s deid?
    Ye maun be awa in the heid.
    Ah hinnae a clue
    Hoo tae scrieve a haiku,
    So Ah wrote ye a limrick insteid.

    (Well it amused me…!)

  • Rory

    …and it amused me also, Gonzo. Keep them coming!

  • Frustrated Democrat

    The Braid has a new £20 (yes twenty) million Arts Centre and Museum, culture is alive and well up in the North it seems.

    Maybe Gonzo will get to give a reading there…………..

  • foreign correspondent

    Nice poem. Any recommendations concerning poetry websites?

  • P Kavanagh

    Yes. I hate ’em.

  • Wee Margrit

    A Belfast children’s street rhyme I found in a collection in a library in Dublin.

    Holy Mary Mother of God
    Pray for me and Tommy Todd
    I’m a Fenian
    He’s a Prod
    Holy Mary Mother of God