By: Enda Boyle
Springtime in Derry
Cautiously, by stealth the sunny days creep in
The citizens are stirred by a palpable carpe diem
They undertake a wilderbeast migration seaward
In nearby costal towns columns of bare torsos
lay on beaches, pale blistering into a lobster burn.
Closer to home the streets burst into a calamity
of noise, the tinkering jingles of ice cream vans
battle with high decibel thuds coming from cars
Buskers haul outdoor amps out to curb corners
all the better to tunelessly comeallye till dusk
The pubs arrange fading plastic picnic tables
turning the smoking area into a beer garden
Patrons sip hastily discounted pints of cider
they raise their glasses up to toast the spring
and sunlight skips over the top of their pints
Me, always awkward I skulk under parasols
sweating under an ill-fitting baseball cap
sitting on my tricked-out deck-chair throne
perfecting the look of an anti-seasonal imp
carping on about how it is not summer yet
And yet as I look at the sea’s sliver strands
of sunlight there might yet be time to learn
to play with these unasked-for days in April
or May. Seasonal grace-notes paly-out quickly
The ice-lolly is melting even as we take a lick.
Ten miles from nowhere, a short drive from the sticks
you will find my village coiled round a basin of hills.
Here in this a five-mile stretch you find my people.
The provincials, not that we are in any way backwards
we are modern, condoms in the chemist, wifi in the pub
it’s just that we stick to what we know with goat like
stubbornness. We know how we like things done
Our accents could shatter Waterford Crystal from ten
paces away. Let’s not even discuss our table manners.
Fair warning outsiders condescend at their own peril.
There is only room in this village for one ingrate.
This perch is reserved for ungrateful local children.
Those who walk the line between gadfly and gobshite
Masters of the behind the back eye role and smirk.
Older locals indulge our japes, tolerate our comments
they know they are merely the grouses of youths
for whom the town crossroads have the gravitational
pull of Jupiter. They felt the same thirty years ago
back when the buses ran irregularly over bad roads.
Charitably they don’t mention our better recourses.
We can retreat online, buy a budget airline ticket,
take out a student loan or get a work visa to Austria
smugly fly away before the trap snaps shut forever
little realising we’ll be back with our own children.
The Art of Surprise
Tucked away neatly and half-hidden on the end of the shelf.
An anthology of the at the time upcoming new Irish poets.
It’s cover a plain utilitarian cream it’s staples are falling out.
The pages are stained with tea and the ink is starting to fade.
On the dog-eared inside cover the price has been reduced.
And yet like doubloons hidden in a chest the poems glitter.
Neglect and the passage of time has not dulled their charms.
They have been here waiting for someone to crack the spine
of the book so they can share themselves with the reader
A poem without a reader is powerless as a broken circuit.
Placing the book back I think of this most marginal of arts
how it creeps in unannounced from the margins of our lives.
Whether it is horded in a diary or launched into cyberspace
sent off to a liteary journal or spoken during an open mic
poems inhabit the nooks and crannies of our imaginations.
Most of us seek poetry out only during times of extremes.
We match its intensity during moments of grief or triumph
the graveside oration and the graduation day guest speech.
For these occasions old anthologies are raided lyrics selected
and the words no one knew we needed reach out to meet us
Enda Boyle was Born in County Derry in 1994. He was Educated at The Univerity of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast. Previous Work has appeared in Blowing Razzberries, Dodging The Rain , A New Ulster, Down in the Dirt and Crossroads, Hidden Channel Zine and Dawntreader