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  • Filíocht Nua:New Poetry
  • Adrian Rice


My father wasn’t born with a silver spoonIn his mouth. Rather, he was transported soonAfter his birth to a Home up in Belfast,And there he stayed for several years. His lastDay couldn’t have come sooner—he was fosteredBy Jimmy and Minnie Martin, who chauffeuredHim to Cambria Park, Whiteabbey, besideRailway tracks that run from Belfast to seasideLarne. He was foster-brother to two brothers:Not mistreated, but nothing like those others,As they were the apples of their parent’s eyes.In any day and age, sure that’s no surprise.He grew up tough and he grew up mean, the boyNamed Sue had nothing on him: a nobody’sFool, even if he was nobody’s child. TheyHad to often let him out of school earlyTo protect kids from his fists. One Punch Ken wasHis young nickname and it stuck, simply becauseWhen he hit you, he hit you hard, and that meantLights out. For some, Ken sent home was Heaven sent.But even now we’ve gone too far. We need toGo back a bit, back before primary school,Go back to the Home, back to his memoryOf a time when he was out on a sunnyDay in the grounds of the Home, when he was askedTo pay respects to a stranger who was whiskedInto his play. He always remembers herAs a lady, well dressed and well spoken, herDemeanour immaculate, with a softish,Kindly manner, with a man with an EnglishAccent. In dreams, he knows that she’s his mother. [End Page 35] But what he remembers distinctly is moreOf the fear that she had come to confiscateHis spoon, his silver spoon, the spoon he would hateTo part with, the spoon which he played with in thatPlayground dirt, the spoon he’d stolen off the bat.But she was there, he’d felt her in ev’ry way.Though she still remains a phantom to this day.


It always has the promise of beginning,Going down to the Alpha of an evening,Rushing into the plush-pile, hoovered splendourOf that well-carpeted cinema foyer,An entrance large-postered with Hollywood greatsAnd lined with glassed counters for tickets and treats.Pop-corned and fizzy-drinked, we welcome the dark.A torchy shines us to our seats. We shuffle-walkPast half-risen fellow torn ticket holdersWho just conceal the narkiness that smouldersBeneath their tightlipped smiles. We can’t care less.We’re focused on our mission to see the bestThat Hollywood has prepared for us tonight.Subtly choosing seats, with ‘best’ mates left and right,We elbow in to thole the advertisements,Which merely serve to stoke our core excitement.Anytime now, the magic curtains will close,And though we are sitting, we’ll be on our toesFor the lights to dim and the curtains to open.And here it comes! The regal, roaring lion!Calling us into the land of make-believe,Which is somehow always better than where we live.Tonight, we’re in the balcony, not the stalls,So we get to pause and muster up the ballsTo send our sticky lollies sky-rocketingIn the dark, raining down on the plebs below.We snigger at the shouts and simply lie low,Poker-faced in the torchlight that scans our row.Then it’s back to business and on with the show. [End Page 36] This night, per usual, we’re put through the mill,Torn between laughter and tears, good and the ill,But left believing that good guys always win.There will be last minute punishment for sin.The movie finishes, the titles descend,And it draws to a close with two words: the end.But then that’s just the start of the beginning,For when we are young we are always winning.The curtains close, and the Anthem begins, butWe’re nowhere to be seen, being up and outTo round up the dregs of our...


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pp. 35-40
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