Belfast

Belfast Port Stena Line

We disembarked and drove

Through zigzag streets and on to motorway

Then find fourth gear and drive

Leave the place behind

I have never known it

Neither cruel nor kind

 

But another time I went another way

Landing in Larne

We headed towards Lough Neagh

Magherafelt met me

A multitude of flags

It was July

And O how history drags

 

Union Jacks were everywhere

White flag St George’s cross

This is British Territory

In case you’re wondering

It struck me as all too much

And it is

But if you’ve lived there

It still isn’t enough

 

When we fear and hate and people die

That’s a lot of hurt it won’t go by

It goes deep

A never-ending feud

We are helpless to heal ourselves

Such hurt we don’t let go

 

We need to ask for grace to live in peace

It doesn’t come easy

As Belfast people know

And Derry and Dungannon

Newry and Armagh

Coleraine Limavady

And the folk around Omagh

 

I met sectarian sentiment

In Glasgow long ago

Its viciousness astounded me

Made my spirit low

How can people hate so much?

For some it becomes a cause

But all of us have bias

And that must give us pause

 

Non violence non violence

Martin Luther King

And Gandhi before him

Be our lessoning

We have lived in quiet times

Violence was elsewhere

But stresses come to all of us

Better we prepare

 

Brian Fahy

30 January 2022

 

+ Thoughts prompted by the new Kenneth Branagh film, Belfast.

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