Belfast of yore

Belfast of yore

David

I’ll speak to you, dear stranger, if you really want to know,
So listen , and I’ll tell you why I love this city so.

Belfast is an Ulsterman with features dour and grim,
It’s a pint of creamy porter and a Sunday morning hymn;
The dingy little café where they serve you dainty teas.
It’s up the road to the anchor, for lots of vinegar on hot peas.

Hill Street lined with pubs and eateries

It’s a banner on July the twelfth, a sticky toffee apple,
A righteous little gospel hall, a roman catholic chapel;
It was a paper boy shoutin telly, a piece of apple tart
A fry upon a Saturday, or a coal breek on a cart.

Do you mind a Corporation gas man, complete with bowler hat,
A wee shop at the corner, a friendly bit of chat;
An oul lad in a duncher, the woman in a shawl,
A pinch of snuff, a tattie farl, a loyal orange hall.
The tobacco smell in York street, a beg of yella man,
An Easter egg that’s dyed with whins, a slice of ormo pan
The wee lad with spricks in an oul glass jar,
The preacher at the customs house, or an old Victorian bar.

Mud banks on the lagan when the tide is running low,
The men collecting refuse , bonfires in sandy row;
A bag of salty dullis, a boul of Irish stew,
A goldfish bought in Gresham Street, a preacher at the queue.
It’s a portrait of King Billy upon a gable wall,
A flower seller on a stool, outside the city hall;
A half moon round the door step, a polis man on guard,
A man whose crying “delf for regs”, a little whitewashed yard.

It’s the Mays market on a Friday, the ships lined at the docks,
It’s a shiny polished fender, a bunch of green shamrocks;
It’s herrings fried in oaten meal, with a drink of buttermilk; It’s a snowy linen handkerchief as soft as finest silk,
O’Hara’s bap with country butter, a dander round the zoo,
A climb up tough Ben Madigan to get a splendid view.

t’s a bunch of savoury scallions, a plate of buttery champ,
Hopscotch on the footpath, a swing around a lamp,
Delf dogs on the mantelpiece, the wee man from the pru,
The chimney sweep on his bicycle, coming to do the flue;
The ever present vista of the hills of Castlereagh,

It’s a wee walk up the Lisburn Road and back by the Malone,
The Albert clock in High Street with its rich and mellow tone.
It’s a barney Hughes hot cross bun, a canary in a cage,
The old men talking in the park of a past and better age;

It’s a needle to an anchor in Smithfield’s famous mart,
I think I’d better call a halt before I break my heart.
And that’s the answer stranger and now I’m sure you’ll see,
Why Belfast is the only place in all the world for me.

*Words in this post are excerpts from a beautiful poem about Belfast; based on the original idea by Bill Nesbitt*
http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/yourplaceandmine/belfast/A769593.shtml

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