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English Street by Damian Smyth was launched at the Belfast Book Festival on Monday 11thJune 2018
DAMIAN SMYTH in conversation about his work: CLICK HERE
The Struell Sceptics
Of course, now no one believes a word that’s said,
There is nothing at all out there but wind and stone;
Nothing at all in here but bone and flesh, a bit of a mess,
For all that staring into the abyss of cold white water,
Rattled by its own breakage into the open air
From the black interior, its dead continent of faith.
There had been pilgrims, barefoot overland for miles:
Credulous, wounded somehow, sorry and worrying,
But ready for miracle at any moment on the road,
Some modesty of help held out to each alone,
Even in boggy acres, in a dusk of plasters and cow piss,
Spit water, sweaty bodies, whiskey and sick tokens
Hammered into the bark to catch the sun for generations.
Even in the secular daylight a ghost of that endures:
We are utterly desperate, believe me, unstable, bereft,
Every opening in the soil still a portal with steps down,
Though now they walk no farther than to one dank room.
The wall of the Drinking Well has tiny, arched windows,
Pilfered from a church nearby but no longer there;
The cross etched into the wall, so low down, is a headstone.
From English Street by Damian Smyth
Born in Downpatrick in 1962, Damian Smyth is a civil servant and has been an editor, playwright and critic.
His five collections of poems are Downpatrick Races (2000), The Down Recorder (2004), Lamentations (2010), Market Street (2010) and Mesopotamia (2014).