It’s about that which went before
and nostalgia is not an option.
So begins the road to the past
and I drive down Landseer street.
Land seer indeed. What things I’ve seen
and shared. But how to proceed?
Perhaps in prehistory; rocks and
the beginnings of life; a different
life in Belfast, aeons ago.I see myself
walking by as other people;
bright eyed and bushy tailed
not unlike that taxidermied hare
beside the world’s largest antlers.
I am layered like geological
features. I have ages and distinct
periods I could name. We stroll
through the Pleistocene all the way
down to the history of Ireland.
Dinosaurs to glacial progress; Gods,
religions, division all neatly divided
into glass cases. Labelled evidence
to learn from or most commonly
ignore. The Stranmilis setting also
means more. Yes, in memory; student,
drinker, idiot but the name itself. I
know it to refer to a ‘sweet stream’.
How we flowed, like water down the hill
to the traffic lights and on into Queen’s
Students’ Union, now in ruins (I lay in ruins
there too). My son urges me onward,
time travelling, consumed by
excitement. It is an unmitigated
joy to watch him run and look back
at me, at us. I see my next era as a
young father passing me angst ridden.
His face mirrors the stress on his
partner’s as their two charges lay
siege to the cuddly toys in the museum
shop. ‘What fucking genius set them
just high enough to reach?’ he asks the
world. There may be fatalities. We walk
out into the pelting rain and freeze of
February. There is too much to take in,
too much history which means only
a snippet or two may be recalled in
a quiet moment. We walk benath
bare branches looking for squirrels.
Read —Divil the Bit