Jude Collins

Monday, 14 September 2009

Bloody poetry

It’s a bit scary when poetry stops being poetry and starts being a threat. Our son Patrick was home from London for the weekend so he could do a 100-mile cycle from Belfast to Coleraine (along the Antrim coast road) and he was busy assembling his bike out the back on Saturday evening. The sun was shining, the birds were tweeting (not online, of course) and I was busy passing Patrick the occasional piece of equipment, when I thought of Seamus Heaney’s ‘Follower’. You’ll remember it’s about how as a child he used to stumble in his father’s footsteps: ‘I was a nuisance, tripping, falling/Yapping always” - and then suddenly the roles are reversed and it’s his father who is the dependent one and he the man in charge…You can guess the rest. It suddenly struck me that my son, that I was giving shoulder-rides and teaching penalty-kicks about three weeks ago is suddenly in his thirties and is being tolerant of the old man, who has just failed to take six photographs in succession with his iphone because he kept pressing the Home button and ignoring the Camera icon… You knew it’s going to happen to you but you didn’t really realize it was going to happen quite so QUICKLY…

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