The Gantries at Our Backs

 

I know these narrow northern streets

From the photographs that you used to keep

Deep beneath the boxes in press

With scarves and shoes and that old wedding dress

 

Christmas time you’d take them out to show

To ‘visitors’ just setting out to go

And they’d stop and have one more for the road

And Jameson’s and red and tears would flow

 

As I look on with familiar strangers eyes

With the gantries at our back I realise

And Samson and Goliath gazing down

Just how much you love this troubled town

 

The snaps they show the streets and the parades

Where Brillcream boys and children like you played

And you and mammy promised to be true

Even though you wore orange and she wore blue

 

So you packed up to take the Dublin train

As lovers often did and will again

Knapsack and a suitcase tied with twine

The first time that you’d ever crossed the Boyne

 

As I look on with familiar strangers eyes

With the gantries at our back I realise

And Samson and Goliath gazing down

Just how much you love this troubled town

 

August we would cross the Boyne again

And swap the southern sun for northern rain

You told us that if things would settle down

One day we’d all move back to Sailortown

 

But even the best of families fade

Despite the plans young lovers made

And your children grew up far from your home

A million miles from this troubled town

 

As I look on with familiar strangers eyes

With the gantries at our back I realise

And Samson and Goliath gazing down

Just how much you love this troubled town