Iain Campbell grew up in Holywood, Co Down, before heading to Edinburgh to study Structural Engineering. His poetry is inspired by his love of the landscape, the sea and sailing; his poems are often a tale of someone he has met, or of a journey he has undertaken.
Iain’s work has recently been published in the Blue Nib, Lagan Online and has been accepted for the inaugural edition of the Bangor Literary Journal. He was runner up in the Second year of The Bangor Poetry Competition, has read at Aspects Festival and is a regular contributor to Poetry NI’s Friday nights at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast.
He is an avid rugby fan and wrote the poem voice-over for Ulster Rugby’s 2015 promo video, “The 16th Man” which featured on the big screen throughout that season.
A is for America
‘And B is for Belfast and C is for crane
and D is for Dee Street, Ma, and E is for engine,
like my Daddy builds. Can we go meet him?’
‘Yes Billy, when the horns blew.’
‘Some day I’ll sail to America’, he told his Ma,
as he skipped down Mersey Street towards the bridge.
‘Will you come with me, Ma?’
‘No Billy – Belfast is my home.’ ‘Then I’ll write.’
He saw her first, her red scarf bobbing against
the grimy tide of dunchers; wee Billy trailing in her wake
with stuttered run to match her stride, his shouts
submerged beneath the murmur and the jangle of bicycles.
The starlings wheeled across the twilight,
clouding the sunset with cascaded choreography
until, back at the Yard, some bright spark
fired a distress flare, a firework for Halloween.
Everybody stopped and turned;
three white stars hung high in the evening sky,
before floating, sinking, and fading,
between the gantries and the ship’s four great funnels.
‘Can we buy ha’penny baps Da,
with sugar on the top?’, the wee lad asked,
tugging on the engineer’s dirty dungarees.
‘Sure son, and then it’s home for a bath for you.’
On and on they strolled, her arm in his,
Billy stamping on their flickering gas lamp shadows,
crossing the Newtownards Road, busy with its trams,
butchers, greengrocers and self appointed importance.
Past the Great Eastern, awash with the hubbub of porter,
past the little mission hall where they sought to save the lost,
their gospel hymns rising and ebbing on the night air.
Nearer my God to Thee, they sang, Nearer to thee.
Turning the corner, nearly home, just the three of them now,
Billy squeezed his Mammy’s hand, she smiled her Friday smile;
patted his tousled head and whispered in his ear,
‘and T is for Titanic, son’.
Linda Imbler is the author of the published poetry collections “Big Questions, Little Sleep” and “Lost and Found.” She is a Kansas-based Pushcart Prize Nominee. Her work has appeared in numerous national and international journals. Linda’s creative process and a listing of publications can be found at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com.
We got up so early with so much to do.
We made plans throughout the day,
things that would happen
where our paths did not cross
and would keep us further apart.
We sent each other messages to voice
rather than answering the phone.
We chose not to meet for lunch
because we both wanted different foods that day.
We promised ourselves
to tell the other those loving words.
We bought each other a gift
but gave not of our time.
We chose to spend one precious hour
that evening in a debate
whose outcome neither could control.
Only one of us rose the next morning.
Robert Dunsdon lives in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. He was first published, in Ambit, in 1974, since when his work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies.
Outside the Anchor
good to see you
on a dogged night,
a night demanding submission;
urging you through telephone wires and charmless trees,
over the church of St. Helen
and out into a light revelling in its magnanimity;
a still night
regarding itself in the water,
righting itself when ripples fall away
in a slow stream slipping under the bridge
towards the ferry,
the boat club,
the quiet reaches distant from the town.