Barney Rooney

(belfast)

1945-62


When I was young the solid men of Ulster
thought the war had sort of wiped the slate
clean living, golf and polished Humbers
they settled to enjoy their little state

of mind to let some past the kitchen door
but leave the B men play to keep it quiet
if fenian families found their taste for war
forgetting rule of law and god and might

The Holy Family chapel was our guardian
but soon we’re up the Falls above Milltown
symmetry of catholic self regarding then
drives us to the Cave Hill end of town

Jocking, Russell, Fordyce, Greenway
Gow and Larmour later Fru
Scott, Courtney, Boyd and Mrs Lindsay
The Rooney’s first foot in the midst of you

In Marmount Gardens up above the circus
wee brick semis thrown up in a row
bleak Sunday street of silent houses
no hi ho when off to mass we go

Up the dam or on the playing field
just hanging round talking act the lig
until the cooling mood marks time to leave
as bait the taig is born from tired with tig

Not Davy Dessie Jeeky solid mates
tuborg and green chartreuse on weekend night
pioneer pin parts me from their fate
too sober for the fumble, feel or fight

In 1962 get on the Heysham boat
leave with everything you had to give
pointed shoes and Jackson’s raglan coat
at 17 off to work and live.

Submitted: Sunday, November 24, 2013
Edited: Sunday, January 12, 2014
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