POETRY Reading: The Keening Curlew, by Bill Mumford

Performed by Allison Kampf

POEM:

Hail, blown by Artic Maritime wind
Stings. Westmorland whitens, all sound freezes.
I take shelter in a silent lime kiln
Stone cold. No fire here, all warmth has been mined.
Pulled my dog close- wary with unease
Numbed. Quiet, waiting as the cold seeps in.

Steam of light cuts through an icy veil
Glimpses of a silhouette, then the lament
As a curlew keens his incantation.
His lovelorn song tells such a sad tale
Memories of moors filled with enchantment-
His thoughts turn- for hope and expectation.

They say: birth chimes bring the sick belief
Moment of joy in a landscape of grief

Number 87, The Fountain, by Bill Mumford

The snib string was pushed through grandfather’s door
Well-worn by the tug of neighbours’ hands.
Let out during the day, pulled in at night
Hefted children, weans, keen to explore.
“No going to the Bog Side or Creggan”
“No cheeking old man Walker- he’s not right”

Tribal childcare, fed wherever we were
Never any trouble: “we know your ma”.
And god knew everything we were thinking-
Even before we did. We were wary.
Found places that were under the radar
Feral- until the string was pulled in.

We snook over to see Derry City
“Avert your eyes from the graven imagery!”

The Keening Curlew, by Bill Mumford

Hail, blown by Artic Maritime wind
Stings. Westmorland whitens, all sound freezes.
I take shelter in a silent lime kiln
Stone cold. No fire here, all warmth has been mined.
Pulled my dog close- wary with unease
Numbed. Quiet, waiting as the cold seeps in.

Steam of light cuts through an icy veil
Glimpses of a silhouette, then the lament
As a curlew keens his incantation.
His lovelorn song tells such a sad tale
Memories of moors filled with enchantment-
His thoughts turn- for hope and expectation.

They say: birth chimes bring the sick belief
Moment of joy in a landscape of grief