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jim hogg


The Light at Killintringan


The mouth of the harbour here quietly kissed
blue waves that waltzed from Kilkeel home to us
The springtime sun faded to 'love's old sweet song'
and the light at Killintringan came on

But your fingertips on my lips couldn't still
the secret fears of a working class kid
That you were too good was my very first thought
as the light at Killintringan shone on

The beams from the lighthouse turned through the night
lighting the perils hidden from sight

And we were the summer that never would fade
our love like the doeskin bound for the blade
You turned seventeen and I turned from your heart
with Killintringan light lost in the dark

The autumn was passing, and snow would soon fall
Time didn't fix us, and it just kept on
Then, tears on your letter, we fell once again
as Killintringan light shone through the rain

The beams from the lighthouse turned through the night
lighting the perils hidden from sight

And now looking back love, it all seems so plain
but I couldn't find a way to explain
The simplest of words wouldn't ever fly free
as Killintringan light searched o'er the sea

And down on his knees in the Queen Marg'ret Hall
underneath your photograph on the wall
A guy who still saw what he saw in your eyes
when Killintringan light scanned the night skies

The beams from the lighthouse turned through the night
Lighting the pearls there in plain sight


05 10 07

Submitted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Edited: Wednesday, January 16, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Think I might have lifted 'love's old sweet song' from JJ's Ulysses.

Love, life and the ocean are full of unseen perils and pearls. And when it cuts up rough - or passionately tender and promising - it's easy to miss the dangers or to run aground on them. Or sometimes they're very obvious, but we still can't find a way round them, or even admit to them - and, some things can't be atoned for.

In the summer of 2005 I was in the Harbour House in Portpatrick with a brother. We had a quick single quarter gill of Highland Park - no water or other contaminant added - then went out and stood at the railing overlooking the harbour. We'd just started chatting when I was suddenly struck by an overwhelming surge of regret and shame that became part of the foundation for this song. Beware the power of a single single malt! Next time you see a Scotsman 'greetin'' in the street, you won't need to ask him what he's been drinking.

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