Thursday, 23 July 2009

War Memorial

Every time I walk down Portstewart prom, past the War Memorial, I am reminded of a poem by Seamus Heaney.

The bronze soldier hitches a bronze cape
That crumples stiffly in imagined wind
No matter how the real winds buff and sweep
His sudden hunkering run, forever craned

Over Flanders. Helmet and haversack,
The gun's firm slope from butt to bayonet,
The loyal, fallen names on the embossed plaque -
It all meant little to the worried pet

I was in nineteen forty-six or seven,
Gripping my Aunt Mary by the hand
Along the Portstewart prom, then round the crescent
To thread the Castle Walk out to the strand.

Excerpt from "In Memoriam Francis Ledwidge..." Published in "Field Work" in 1979.

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