It's Always Stinking Outside
Yesterday rain tumbled down on Belfast,
by mid evening the house brick was damp-dark,
the geraniums were in mourning-upright, just-
in their blackened saturated terracotta.
The crown of the trees against the premature dusk,
like huge dulse-heads dropped from an ocean sky;
a shade darker than deepest black.
The wooden garden table, the concrete patio,
the stepping stones across the lawn;
the window sills and the back door steps,
all melancholic, sodden to black.
The Bangor blue slates on the line of rooftops,
a stinking fur coat, black as ink,
that had been lying all day in a puddle,
outside Woodvale Park thirty years ago.
Thirty years ago the chain links,
on the park's swings,
were as dull as hell on a rainy day.
The tar macadam play area,
a poisonous liquorice river
with its island of wooden and cold-iron roundabout
that would snare legs on hot summer days;
trapped until the ambulance arrived.
You could loose a day at the park in summer
dressed in a striped T-shirt
with collar and short sleeves.
If you sniffed the skin on your arm
at teatime, you could smell
the sun, fresh grass, warm trees.
The rain that tumbled down on Belfast
thirty years ago, made the grass greener,
it diluted the flood of tears, washed away
the blood from the streets so children
could play there again and forever.
Holding that past I switch on the lamps,
light the gas fire; it's warm and bright now,
relaxed, I pinch, sniff the skin on my arm.