Monday, February 6, 2012
This wonderful photograph by John Minihan appeared in Shadows From the Pale, Portrait of an Irish Town, (Martin Secker & Warburg Limited, London, 1996). The church dates from the sixties. If ever a photographer caught the incongruity of architectures from different times, it is here. And this picture gave me ammunition for a few short poems.
Eileen Johnston lived in one of cottages on Convent Lane;
her sign barely fitted between hall-door and eaves.
Long hours she spent, years fitting and pinning up,
face to her Singer lamp, tracking the straightness of seams,
crawling the railways of the world.
Women came with pictures of dinner-dance dresses or for alterations,
but less and less as the shop lights grew brighter,
their windows bigger, bigger than the cottages on Convent Lane;
and all the time the new church below was pointing away;
pointing away to the future.
The new church was a rocket
beyond Convent Lane.
The old cottages glared
at the wall opposite,
praying the rocket
be on its way.