Belfast Pastoral

By Emma Must

Summer has come early. Our Golden Age is now.
As I walk to Tomb Street to fetch a book from Amazon
in a cardigan as yellow as the dockyard cranes,
is golden: No Parking At Any Time
painted on a garage door, Urban Clearway signs,
grit containers angry at their own obsolescence.
There’s more besides: the fries in a KFC Bucket Meal,
The Money Shop, the Way on the end of Sub.

The parks are full. The Botanic Gardens over-brims
with a festival of legs and arms, everybody
sunning themselves on spread-out coats.
We lick Twisters and, more of a mouthful,
Rowntrees Fruit Pastille Lollies. We talk poems.
And this is no longer the city you’ve read about.


Directed by Matthew Thompson.

Published in New Poets from the North of Ireland (Blackstaff, 2016). An earlier version of the poem appeared on the Honest Ulsterman website in July 2014.