Galway

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TrevorConway
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Galway

Post by TrevorConway » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:54 am

By the fountain of Eyre Square
and the writhing flags of fourteen tribes,
you hear a woman warn of sin
till you feel the subtle slant of Shop Street,
umbrellas held at sides,
where sallow-skinned ladies hug Oscar Wilde.
The beaten skin of a drum booms
as sculpted piglets suckle sand;
a Traveller boy in top hat and suit
sings to a crowd of clinking coins
thrown by fumbling hands.

Market stalls of spicy smells
draw legs and wheels through their channel
as parents pushing buggies wait,
frustrated by wavering gawkers.
Imagine how it looked
hundreds of years before,
a medieval town of noise,
words you’d barely understand.
Some of those words endure.

So easy to ignore the cars
while you cross to Quay Street,
but not those thoughts
of eyeing shelves in Charlie Byrne’s,
where a minute’s search is hours lost.
You overhear the talk of books
from pinted folk on Neachtains chairs,
following the sound of the river
till you see the Spanish Arch,
a crumbling scrap of distant years.

Facing the current, you wander
down by the garden of Jurys,
thinking how it would be to live there,
peeking out on still water sucked into the river.
You cross the road to the wooden bridge,
looking back as bicycle wheels bruise its planks.
Below, a thin track of water spills
over a mossy slant.

Beyond the river, a bend unravels
onto a narrow bridge.
A van awaits
the melodramatic turn of the bus.
Why don’t they widen this bridge?, you wonder,
stepping onto the road,
your hair brushed by the bus’s mirror,
faced with Galway Cathedral,
stout and grey, with its green-blue head,
as you cross the road and follow the curving path,
where students stream en masse.
Along the canal,
you recall those years
of essays, exams, a girl in your class.

By Presentation Road,
something in the dark water shines;
you step closer to see it better:
a red stain below the shards –
a broken bottle of Buckfast wine.
The chunky, weathered wood of the sluice
restrains a layer of litter and slime.
Frothy water seeps through,
dropping to a lower depth
a little at a time.

Another cloud looms, but it’s lighter,
hardly worthy of rain.
On Dominick Street, you glimpse a sculpture
behind a smudged window pane.
By Raven Terrace,
apartments ripple in the water,
a scene that could’ve been set there
by a lonely Impressionist’s brush;
a shawled Roma lady nearby,
a paper cup in her weathered hand,
people don’t notice her much.

Be careful as you step
round iron rings where dirty ropes
are tied to lilting boats.
A crow watches from a crossbar
two spaniels running between the posts.
Grass tapers, lost to rock,
the salty smell of sea on your tongue,
you feel the stinging breeze
as winter descends on this town,
and watch the waves rearing up
as a train in the distance trudges toward Dublin.
A tap on your head confirms your fear;
you look around, but there’s no shelter
as rain comes lashing down.


Are any of ye familiar with Galway? I wanted to write a poem full of small details that locals would know of (and hopefully recognise when described here) rather than a more touristy poem. Also wanted to emphasise the prominence of water and the constant threat of rain :D Hope ye enjoy it. Any feedback would be great. Thanks

NotQuiteSure
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Re: Galway

Post by NotQuiteSure » Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:51 am

.
Hi Trev,
I like the idea but lacking any knowledge of Galway this was a bit too meandering for me. And I didn't get much of a sense of place. I thought you came close in verses five (with what seem like long held local complaints) and six.
Trying to follow the route on a map was difficult (though obviously wouldn't be a problem for locals), and I couldn't work out what the point of the journey was. That said, I did like the final line (should be 'shoulder', rather than 'head') it seemed the perfect end to a long day.

What's the difference between Traveller (S1) and Roma (S7)?

S1.
The flags of fourteen tribes
writhe by the fountain of Eyre Square
in the rusting shadows of the sails

a woman warns of sin
as we walk past, vaguely/blowing south,
expectant umbrellas furled against the wind,

Down the pedestrianised slant
of Shop Street, we don't stop
nor touch a drop at Taaffes, but

march on, the weather beaten skin
of a drum, booms, a Traveller
boy, top hat and suit, sings coins

from a crowd of fumbling hands,
nearby piglets suckle sculpted sand.


(Where's the Traveller boy singing, and what/where are the 'piglets'?)

S2.
Are the market stalls in Church lane?
I think you can cut the first four lines of S2 - could be any market any where - and go straight to a more detailed imagining of 'how it looked hundreds of years before' and what words have endured (and possibly how/why).

S3
Like the details here (L5-6 is very nice) but the writing needs polishing - and a better last line. Why are you 'following the sound of the river' anyway? This poem needs a narrative!

S4
Rather an empty verse, for me. Still don't know why you're wandering this way, and I've stopped caring.
(Is Jurys an hotel?)

S5.
Liked the 'why don't they' and the last three lines. The description of the Cathedral seems more touristy than local. Wouldn't a local know about its insides, not the dull, obvious exterior?
faced with Our Lady and Saint Nicholas
stout and cold Atlantic grey,
her heavy crown of verdigris,
has yet to see a century of rain
The old girl doesn't look her age ...


S6.
The 'buckfast' felt a bit predictable (though maybe it's just factual?) but I did like the description of the canal. Could you not add a bit more about the canal, history, why was it built, why (apparently) abandoned?
And what was presented at Presentation Road? Are you missing a trick not exploring some of the names (of the places) you're mentioning?

S7.
Bit too much going on here. Three ideas, none really developed. Have you grown bored by this point? :)

S8.
Liked the music of the down/town rhyme.
No idea where you are geographically.
The introduction of 'winter' seems to come out of nowhere. Is there a reference to the time of year earlier that I missed?
(The salty smell of sea is terrible :) )
As I said before, I like the ending. Just no idea why you've ended up here, and there's nothing that inclines me to revisit. It's all too aimless. Now tell me what I've overlooked :)


Regards, Not


.
Last edited by NotQuiteSure on Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Macavity
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Re: Galway

Post by Macavity » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:26 pm

I enjoyed the write Trevor, its richness, which is a thumbs up from someone who has a bias (towards short poems!) Some detail below on what works and doesn't for me. I think you could write some notes to accompany the poem for an outsider to appreciate the context (I haven't done any web search because it is a long poem)
TrevorConway wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:54 am
By the fountain of Eyre Square....................who was Eyre?
and the writhing flags of fourteen tribes,...........was this a particular time in history? or ref. to the EU at the time?
you hear a woman warn of sin........................the religious shadow on daily life/enjoyment
till you feel the subtle slant of Shop Street,...lovely phrase, the slide into sin
umbrellas held at sides,
where sallow-skinned ladies hug Oscar Wilde.....the literary decadence
The beaten skin of a drum booms
as sculpted piglets suckle sand;.......................I don't understand this line
a Traveller boy in top hat and suit
sings to a crowd of clinking coins
thrown by fumbling hands.......................why are they all fumbling? overwritten?

Market stalls of spicy smells............................what spices?
draw legs and wheels through their channel
as parents pushing buggies wait,
frustrated by wavering gawkers.
Imagine how it looked
hundreds of years before,....................some nudges to picture that?
a medieval town of noise,
words you’d barely understand..............crying out for examples to colour the assertion
Some of those words endure......................please tell!

So easy to ignore the cars.....................because N. is occupying another time in mind?
while you cross to Quay Street,
but not those thoughts
of eyeing shelves in Charlie Byrne’s,.....................a book shop?
where a minute’s search is hours lost.
You overhear the talk of books
from pinted folk on Neachtains chairs,...................like that one
following the sound of the river
till you see the Spanish Arch,
a crumbling scrap of distant years...another gem in phrasing

Facing the current, you wander
down by the garden of Jurys,............................plants/flowers?
thinking how it would be to live there,
peeking out on still water sucked into the river................sounds ugly
You cross the road to the wooden bridge,
looking back as bicycle wheels bruise its planks.....the effect of time parallels his experience/emotions
Below, a thin track of water spills
over a mossy slant...............................you've already used slant

Beyond the river, a bend unravels...................straightens?
onto a narrow bridge.
A van awaits
the melodramatic turn of the bus........................the melodrama is not conveyed to the reader
Why don’t they widen this bridge?, you wonder,
stepping onto the road,
your hair brushed by the bus’s mirror,
faced with Galway Cathedral,
stout and grey, with its green-blue head,
as you cross the road and follow the curving path,
where students stream en masse.
Along the canal,
you recall those years
of essays, exams, a girl in your class.............some hint of the girl's attractions?

By Presentation Road,
something in the dark water shines;
you step closer to see it better:
a red stain below the shards –..................one of those poetry words to avoid?
a broken bottle of Buckfast wine.
The chunky, weathered wood of the sluice.....................also used for weathered hand
restrains a layer of litter and slime.
Frothy water seeps through,
dropping to a lower depth
a little at a time.

Another cloud looms, but it’s lighter,
hardly worthy of rain.
On Dominick Street, you glimpse a sculpture
behind a smudged window pane.
By Raven Terrace,
apartments ripple in the water,
a scene that could’ve been set there
by a lonely Impressionist’s brush;.......................Impressionism takes me to another place...France!
a shawled Roma lady nearby,.................not needed
a paper cup in her weathered hand,
people don’t notice her much..........choose not to notice her could be an option for heartlessness

Be careful as you step
round iron rings where dirty ropes.............'mucky' an option?
are tied to lilting boats...........................like the notion, the language of boats :)
A crow watches from a crossbar
two spaniels running between the posts.
Grass tapers, lost to rock,
the salty smell of sea on your tongue,.....................smell/taste confused me
you feel the stinging breeze
as winter descends on this town,
and watch the waves rearing up
as a train in the distance trudges toward Dublin............why is it trudging? uphill? occupants reluctant to leave?
A tap on your head confirms your fear;
you look around, but there’s no shelter
as rain comes lashing down........................fear of rain, fear of past, fear of future, fear of despondency...perhaps


Are any of ye familiar with Galway? I wanted to write a poem full of small details that locals would know of (and hopefully recognise when described here) rather than a more touristy poem. Also wanted to emphasise the prominence of water and the constant threat of rain :D Hope ye enjoy it. Any feedback would be great. Thanks
the poem threads with a sense of navigation through the streets, through time and thoughts

hope that helps some

mac

TrevorConway
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Re: Galway

Post by TrevorConway » Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:24 pm

Thanks a million, Not and Mac. Very helpful stuff there. Lots to mull over!

T

Macavity
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Re: Galway

Post by Macavity » Thu Aug 13, 2020 6:09 am

The city also bears the nickname "City of the Tribes" (Irish: Cathair na dTreabh) because of the fourteen merchant families called the "tribes of Galway"[8] who led the city in its Hiberno-Norman period.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galway

Finally got around to looking up those tribes!

and Eyre Square
In 1965, the square was officially renamed "John F. Kennedy Memorial Park" in honour of U.S. President John F. Kennedy; despite the renaming, the square is still widely known as Eyre Square. Kennedy had visited Galway city and made a speech in the square on 29 June 1963
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyre_Square

And Charlie Byrne is a labyrinthine maze of over 100,000 books

https://www.charliebyrne.ie/

If you do revisit, it would be nice to see the Claddagh Ring make an appearance :)

TrevorConway
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Re: Galway

Post by TrevorConway » Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:08 am

Ha, thanks, Mac!

You should visit sometime. Galway is a special town, hence the poem :D

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