3 Poems by Francis O’Hare


That could be anyone in the black and white picture

of Barry’s Amusements in the 1970s

driving the bumping car like Bodie and Doyle

in the ITV show, The Professionals, the same

unkempt haircuts and cool modish jackets

in leather, denim, suede, fur-collared

for extra appeal to the unseen young ladies

who surely wait at the edge of frame

their valiant knights’ return from the fray

of electrified jousting, the sparking poles lit

with the hopes and fears, love and excitement

an era experienced on a trip to Portrush,

the sun always shining, a balmy sea breeze

transforming the dour north to the Costa

del Sol or Cannes for a fortnight each summer

and letting us think we could all be happy

as long as places like this still existed

in the midst of a nightmare (We Love The 70s)

and kids could imagine that they could be heroes

without killing each other, behind the wheel

of gleamingly futuristic, wee wagons

charting their course through the mad chaos

of afternoon showdowns, bumping all comers

and climbing out, dazed, to the still-reeling world.

Something Like Love

I wish I was Paul Brady

and grew up in the town of Strabane

where the Mourne River flows under shady

trees to the west of Tyrone.

I wish that I’d joined a folk group

and learnt all the jigs and reels

in pubs late at night, drinking up

the music like whiskey, my boot-heels

itching for Dublin and London

and New York, the whole wide world,

and arriving and finding the same sun

shines down on it all, the same old

story wherever you go,

the poor being treated like dirt,

branded as cattle and sold

down the waste-poisoned river, that hurt

coming out at the end of the night

in traditional airs and come-all-ye’s,

broken hearts, crazy dreams, a fist fight,

and the sickness for home aching always

in your soul like a seagull above

California, Caledonia, Strabane,

looking for something like love

in the troubled streets, houses, ochone.

The Look
for Ciaran Carson

I remember years and years ago

(it could be I’m imaging things)

I’d stand outside at night and look

up at the stars, the countless frosty

town lands of the sky, its lights

the lights of homes far away

in other worlds and wonder if

some kid in an unknown galaxy

was looking up at the same huge dark

and asking him or herself why

things were as they are. I hope

I always want to know the answer

and find myself again just gazing

into the universe’s eyes

some night and see it looking back.

About the contributor

Francis O’Hare was born in Newry. He co-authored Outside the Walls with Frank Sewell in 1997. His first full collection, Falling into an O, was published by Lagan Press, Belfast, in 2007. A further pamphlet collection was published by Lagan Press in 2009, entitled Alphaville. He published his second collection, Somewhere Else, with Lagan Press in 2011. In the same year, he also published a collection in America entitled Home and Other Elsewheres.

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