Belfast / by stephenherronold

It was the big smoke
The one and only city
Gigantic and sprawling
(Or so we thought)
A thousand different places,
But one place.

The name rang
With promise. 
The distant thunder rumbled
From over the hill
As parts of the city
Were turned into dust.

That didn't matter to me
A trip downtown
Meant so many things.
Leisureworld's endless treasures
Woolworth's and Boot’s
Bookshops and Argos
Movies with my dad or gran
Always something new

Later, I went to school there
The city center was too close
A brighter, more tempting place
That still sang to my senses.
Until I moved to a place
A little too far away.

Later still, we reclaimed the city
Driving down weekly or more
The brand new glass and steel
Better cinemas and restaurants
Discovering the city all over again.

Eventually I lived there
A small nameless house
In the shadow of the building
Where I came into the world
Living out the same
Heartbreaks and triumphs
As everyone else.

That’s when I felt it.
Belonging to the place
Just as it belonged to me.
A connection going back
To before I was born.

Eventually I left.
Another post-industrial city on a Great Lake
Trading saltwater for fresh
Leaving Cave Hill behind

Sometimes I go back
Haunting the streets
Like an absentee ghost.
Always a hint of guilt
And wonder.