Very happy that my poem ‘Gale Force Winds on Main Street’ was selected for Crannog Magazine no. 33. It deals with a topical issue: can rural town survive the arrival of Big Shopping Centres? As an an topic it’s been around for some time but lately seems all the more presssing since the return of emigration and the economic recession. I was driving through a small midland town recently and was shocked at the number of empty shop windows, closed-up houses and the general air of depression. That particular day there was also a gale-force wind funnelling down the main street and an old gent struggling against it with his plastic bag of shopping. And then I thought of the way some older people must be left quite alone in these towns, every able-bodied person having left if they can at all.
The launch was last Friday 28 June at the Crane Bar in Galway (as always) and I was delighted to be invited to read. Incidentally, I see the Crane Bar itself is ‘FOR SALE’. Nothing is safe anymore!
Gale Force Winds on Main Street
This no wind for an old man to weather
down the main street of his midland town,
a wind that sends dead leaves and litter swirling,
screams around blind corners, sets the flags
to crack like gunshots over the empty pubs.
Like a soldier going over the top
he takes a breath and bends against a tempest
strong as any raged in Genesis
that time when God was stocking up the world
with brand new goods and opening up for business.
He pulls his cap down tightly. All the forecasts,
economic and meteorological,
are uniformly bleak. Above the gale
he hears the distant dual carriageway
that lured the local trade to shopping centres
sing of SPECIAL OFFERS! CUT-PRICE DEALS!
He stumbles past the FOR SALE signs, TO LETs
and UP FOR AUCTIONSs, until finally
he shelters in the mercy of his doorway,
rests a moment, fumbles for his latch key.