Paul F. McCann

OLD ARDOYNE

Well there was the bog around the Beltex Mill,
and the spring on the cinder pitch
Before the troubles came.
Then the Beltex fell to the Shamrock Club
that was built before the streets of Old Ardoyne
had changed their name.
Near Flax Street was the Milly Dam,
where two white swans swam and spricks wriggled –
a stone-throw away from the Bone.
Boys and Girls went to school as the battlefield grew.
Houses were burned to the ground.
The swans found a new home.
Old gable walls with graffiti backdrops hung a portrait
of oppression as black taxi’s run the streets.
Dark shadows clung to the corners of Old Ardoyne,
as an army of ants crawled around in tanks and jeeps.
Old Ardoyne was filled with tears as mums with babies
in prams choked on CS gas that was thick in the air.
Men ran for cover from rubber bullets,
dogs were kicked,
cats killed,
and the birds were not singing anywhere.
As the helicopters hunted through the grey sky
some in Old Ardoyne had said the swans were coming back.
One day the trouble stopped and over the rubble new houses had been built,
Peace returned and that’s a fact