• The Mortal Place


whose names I still remember, druggist, grocer,
confectioner, baker, draper, by their wares.
From Dangle Street to Roe Street windows blazed
with sight's delight, with treasures pence could buy
when you had coppers, or on bidden errand,
each character with individual focus
dwindling at each end with strangers' houses

Now just last week a taximan who lived
in Manor Street was gunned remorselessly,
and in between the streets,
Roe Street and Avonbeg, a wall's being raised
to hold the tribes apart. For in recent years
there's been a drift of folk from distant places
for kinships, friendships, comfort, security;
to paraphrase those words of Baudelaire
a town's more mortal than a people's fears.

​John Hewitt
Linen Hall Library, "Hewitt006", Northern Ireland Literary Archive, accessed Sun, 06/16/2024 - 07:32, https://www.niliteraryarchive.com/content/hewitt006