Galway Poetry Wall – Home

Another of the Cúirt poetry walls in Galway


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 By Nikola Madzirov

I lived at the edge of the town
like a streetlamp whose light bulb
no one ever replaces.
Cobwebs held the walls together,
and sweat our clasped hands.
I hid my teddy bear
in holes in crudely built stone walls
saving him from dreams.

Day and night I made the threshold come alive
returning like a bee that
always returns to the previous flower.
It was a time of peace when I left home:
the bitten apple was not bruised,
on the letter a stamp with an old abandoned house.
From birth I’ve migrated to quiet places
and voids have clung beneath me
like snow that doesn’t know if it belongs
to the earth or to the air.
Nikola Madzirov is a Macedonian poet, editor, and translator

Galway Poetry Wall – The Mower

One of the Cúirt poetry walls in Galway
The Mower by Philip Larkin

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found

A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,

Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.

Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world

Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.

The first day after a death, the new absence

Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind

While there is still time.

 

Poetry Walls in Galway

While I was wandering around the centre of Galway, I spotted this mural painted on the side of a butcher’s shop opposite the St Nicholas Collegiate Church.

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Later, not far away I came across 3 more murals, clustered together

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two of them facing each other on walls flanking a car park.

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I was curious. They clearly had some connection with each other, but what? And the words painted as part of the murals clearly had some meaning. But there didn’t seem to be any information about them.

On returning home, some research on the web finally revealed the answer. They had been created last year as part of the annual Cúirt literary festival. The paintings are an interpretation of poems by Philip Larkin, Dermot Healy, Nikola Madzirov and Irvine Welsh by local street artist Finbar247. Originally, there were plaques with the poems installed on the walls next to the poems but, with the exception of one, they had been removed, presumably by vandals.

There are some videos showing the paintings being created by the artist on the Cúirt website.

9/11 Steel

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This exhibit in the Imperial War Museum North looks like an abstract sculpture. But closer inspection reveals that it’s a fragment from the Twin Towers. The columns, thought to be from the North Tower, formed part of a window section from an external wall.

The pet, Simon Armitage’s response to the exhibit articulate how I felt

‘To stand in front of that mangled and buckled section of steel is to feel bewildered and dumfounded. Pointlessness and poignancy seem to reside within that exhibit. I felt ashamed, angry, overwhelmed by the historical weight, and very small in its shadow. I felt wordless.’

His poem , The Convergence of Twain, is displayed beside the twisted metal

The Convergence of the Twain

I

Here is an architecture of air.
Where dust has cleared,
nothing stands but free sky, unlimited and sheer.

II

Smoke’s dark bruise
has paled, soothed
by wind, dabbed at and eased by rain, exposing the wound.

III

Over the spoil of junk,
rescuers prod and pick,
shout into tangled holes. What answers back is aftershock.

IV

All land lines are down.
Reports of mobile phones
are false. One half-excoriated Apple Mac still quotes the Dow Jones.

V

Shop windows are papered
with faces of the disappeared.
As if they might walk from the ruins – chosen, spared.

VI

With hindsight now we track
the vapour-trail of each flight-path
arcing through blue morning, like a curved thought.

VII

And in retrospect plot
the weird prospect
of a passenger plane beading an office-block.

VIII

But long before that dawn,
with those towers drawing
in worth and name to their full height, an opposite was forming,

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a force
still years and miles off,
yet moving headlong forwards, locked on a collision course.

X

Then time and space
contracted, so whatever distance
held those worlds apart thinned to an instant.

XI

During which, cameras framed
moments of grace
before the furious contact wherein earth and heaven fused.

Armitage’s poem is inspired by, and mimics, one with the same title by Thomas Hardy, written in response to another disaster which gripped the world – the sinking of the Titanic.

Book Benches in Bloomsbury

In summer 2014, a huge range of books will come to life across London, celebrating the city’s links with literature, showcasing accessible visual art from top personalities and local artists and providing entertainment for adults and children alike. (Books about town)

The benches are like giant books, opened with one half folded over to form the seat and the other upright acting as the backrest. There are four trails around the city, one of them in Bloomsbury – not suprising given the area’s literary connections. I came across a number of them as I wandered around Bloomsbury late Wednesday afternoon.
Pride and Prejudice in Queens Square
 

1984

The Impotance of Being Earnest

Sherlock Holmes (not a good photo as a private party was taking place preventing access)

Mrs Dalloway in Gordon Square

There were more, but I didn’t have time to seek them out.

 

Book Benches in Bloomsbury

In summer 2014, a huge range of books will come to life across London, celebrating the city’s links with literature, showcasing accessible visual art from top personalities and local artists and providing entertainment for adults and children alike. (Books about town)

The benches are like giant books, opened with one half folded over to form the seat and the other upright acting as the backrest. There are four trails around the city, one of them in Bloomsbury – not suprising given the area’s literary connections. I came across a number of them as I wandered around Bloomsbury late Wednesday afternoon.
Pride and Prejudice in Queens Square
 

1984

The Impotance of Being Earnest

Sherlock Holmes (not a good photo as a private party was taking place preventing access)

Mrs Dalloway in Gordon Square

There were more, but I didn’t have time to seek them out.

 

Street Haunting

 

Another trip with work for to London for a couple of days this week. After my final meeting on Wednesday, late afternoon, I had three hours to kill before I could catch the train back home (I refuse to pay out just over £300 for a two hour journey which would allow me to take an earlier train – even if it’s not my own money!) but there’s always something to do in London. So as Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury set have been on my horizon for the last few weeks – since I visited the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery I’ve been following up with some reading – and as it was a nice, warm, sunny afternoon, I decided to have a stroll around the streets of Bloomsbury.

Walking through the streets of her neighbourhood and other parts of the city was something Virginia Woolf herself was fond of. She even wrote a short piece, Street Haunting, about one such walk one evening from her home in Bloomsbury to the Strand to buy a pencil. And walking through the streets of London is very much central to her novel, Mrs Dalloway.

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I didn’t attempt to follow VW’s route but took a fairly random course trough the old Georgian Streets and Squares, diverting to look at some favourite buildings

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I ended up by the British Museum. It was heaving with tourists – it was August and the height of the tourist season, after all. As there was less than an hour before it closed, and I couldn’t have faced the crush inside, a visit wasn’t on the cards. Instead I turned into Bury Place and wandered into the London Review Bookshop.

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I spent a little time browsing their shelves and then found myself a seat in their rather excellent cafe (as recommended by Barbara of Milady’s Boudoir) where I had a pot of tea and a cake (to bring up my blood sugar level ready for the walk back to Euston afterwards)

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Feeling reinvigorated, I treated myself to a book for the journey back home and then set off back into the streets of Bloomsbury. I took a bit of a circuitous route, towards Queen’s Square, passing the house where Bertrand Russell used to live

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I passed this building with it’s interesting Bauhaus style lettering

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past some more traditional Georgian period houses

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and into Queen’s Square itself

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After tha I decided I’d go and have a look at Gordon Square where Virginia and Leonard Woolf and various members of the Bloomsbury Se, including Vanessa and Clive Bell, John Maynard Keynes and Lytton Strachey all lived for a while.

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A very pleasant garden in the centre, accessible to the public these days, it would have been private and reserved for residents when the square was first built, But there were plenty of people enjoying the warm sunshine.

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The “Bloomsbury’s” lived in the terrace of houses on the east side of the square

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Virginia, Leonard, Vanessa and Clive all lived at No. 50

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While Lytton Strachey lived next door at No. 51

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Today, like much of the surrounding area, the houses are owned by the University of London.

The few hours had passed quickly so it was time to head past yet more typical Georgian houses back to Euston, only a few minutes walk away, to catch my train home.

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