Eyre Square Poetry Competition winner

The writer and teacher Gerry Hanberry won the recent Eyre Square Poetry Competition for his poem ‘Crossing Eyre Square’. Mr Hanberry’s poem is printed below.

Crossing Eyre Square

When you see a young couple,

no more than kids really,

crossing Eyre Square with backpacks,

she, a waif, clinging to his lanky arm,

as if he was the one

who knew where they were going,

or that shaggy busker,

younger than your own son,

stringing a banjo on the steps by the fountain,

you cannot help but fix a stony face, almost paternal,

to match that grand hotel, set there like a magistrate,

to scowl on a world no longer battened down.

Midmorning and a shrieking hoard of long-limbed babes

dash by, still abuzz from the nightshift on the town,

dragging hand-luggage towards the station.

Clearly, you mutter, these are the final days,

this dismantled world is hanging by a thread,

just hanging now by a thread…And yet!…

It can’t be that you hanker for those railed-off times,

the servant and the served, the polished pulpit,

the haughty landlord on his limestone plinth?

Surely not, and there was more if you remember –

the chaste fumblings in shadows by a gate,

the guilt-filled weeks, the rantings on eternal fires of hell.

There’s been enough of that.

No! Let the revellers come to sprawl upon the grass,

to kiss in sunlight,

to feast and dance the jigs and reels of love

in wild sean-nos style

and maybe chase some demons from their earthly hells

where they held sway behind high gabled walls

while we passed by, our eyes downcast,

in case we might see smoke

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