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Billis Bridge Revisited

I took a walk this morning
For I like to amble ‘round
Ihappened on a horse shoe
Frozen solid to the ground
Mass-produced of course these days
Four small nail-holes either side
Two turned up cleats to grip the hoof
In case the horse might slide

I broke the ice around it
Cleaned off all the muck
Relieved it from its resting spot
I’m told that brings you luck
As I held the metal in my hand
Sparks began to flow
AndI landed back at Billis Bridge
More than 50 years ago

Daddy’s hammer struck the anvil
Woke all from their sleep
The sounds and smells came tumbling back
It felt like just last week
Hugh Faulkner stood there, reins in hand
A fine horse by the head
Daddy smiled at Hugh for I knew he knew
He was sure he would be paid

Creamery carters stood there in a line
Right around the bend
Where John Sexton and Phil’s Jemmy
Chatted warmly with their friends
There was Jemmy Carroll, Paddy Smith,
Walter Kane and Alfred Roe
John Lunney, the new manager
lot of names to get to know

Sam Wilson, Tommie Farrelly
Hughie Dowd to name a few
Sat on their carts and waited –
There was nothing else to do
Ned Donohoe was hard at work
As he sweep the concrete floor
Peggy Rudden from her office
Issued statements by the door.

From Billis school kids cheered and played.
A cacophony of sound
Joining noisy crow from ragged nests
In the tall trees that surround
And I wondered ‘bout the people
Who on all sides made them rules
That meant that neighbouring children
Ended up in different schools

A truck of yellow rakes arrived
For Bobby Jameson’s yard
The machineswere all assembled
The crates wecould discard
Bobby’s wife was Maimie
A nurse up from Tyrone
She tended all our neighbour’s ailments
Her work was never done

For a spin to town or doctor
There are those who’dalways care
Larry Burns, Jim Shannon
Or George Craven wouldbe sure to get you there
Jim Chambers dropped out for a smoke
From the busy Co-op store
The Butcher, Georgie Reilly
Scatted saw-dust on the floor

Burns Mill wasclosedby now
Bells closed years before
Though still in working order
There’s no call for the flour
The wireless was switched on inside
And mammy hummed a tune
I long to play with siblings
They are walking from Latoon.

Whitleys truck went on its way
George was at the wheel
It was laden down with tons of stuff
The man was made of steel
I fumbled for a shilling
As I hurried to the shop
But all I found were euros
As my dream came at a stop

I watcher a wagtail by a stream
As I rested on a gate
I held the horseshoe in my hand
Atime to recreate
I had planned to take that horseshoe home
But in confusion was misled
As memories came flooding back
It took me home instead.

Sean Fegan 2017

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