James Fenton Recalls His Childhood

Article excerpt

The Crack

(The Editor will be glad to hear readers' views, and to consider items for inclusion in our

Ulster-Scots column)

Today's two poems by Ulster-Scots poet James Fenton are set in the North Antrim village of Dunloy, close to where the poet grew up. In this village, and in the surrounding townlands, are found country people who have much in common, but who differ in religion, often politically and culturally, and to a lesser extent, linguistically.

In the first poem, 'Dunloy' from his collection

Thonner An Thon, the poet takes a somewhat wistful, sometimes wry, look at the Dunloy of his childhood. In 'Stanes', published here for the first time, he welcomes a recent, perhaps rather unexpected, development in that sometimes troubled village.


Bae the wie

Through Dunloy, three watherin stanes

Stan cairn-lake:

Yin, uprisin, new-lined wae age-

Owl wutness, points abain

Twa laicher, crootchin,

Yin tae ether side, bowl-

Writ wae

Failte the yin,

Fair faa ye the tither:


Wae a dooble welcome tae a'

Gan by,

An aiblins yit frae a'

That stie.

James Fenton

This new poem from James Fenton had its first public reading at the recent Ulster-Scots Conference at Galgorm Manor and is published today for the first time. …