jingle jingle!

jingle jingle!

14.1.14

POEM FOR A LOCAL HISTORIAN



(in memory of Jim Kemmy 1936 -1997)

‘Old people mumbling
low in the night of change and of ageing
when they think you asleep and not listening -
and we wide awake in the dark,
as when we were children.’

(Desmond O’Grady)


'It was poignant, 
when walking away from the graveyard 
that very warm midday, 
that the only sound which could be heard 
after he was buried 
was that of a member of his trade, a stonemason, 
simply chipping away
at a monument.'

(Mary Jackman)



In this city, in every town, in every village,
there is this man
dusty with archives
and old snapshots;
this deep fellow
who digs out truths from scraps,
who drinks from a bowl of swirling voices
and makes sense of things,
makes sense
when all else 
lies in chaos.

In his dreams,
wars are not dead.
They scream
from his books.
He will not let
the suffering go -
he owes the children that.
There is something noble 
in his calling,
in his bearing.
His work is beautiful.
In this particular place,
you can call him 'Jim'.
You can see his face forever
in the autumn leaves,
the leaves of books,
and the dance of history,
a local historian
and carver of tales
so memorable
that every street must value his love:
the love of our people though the ages,
the love of learning,
the search for dignity
that underpins these lanes.

In Limerick,
Jim's imagination still blossoms
and keeps us rooted
in the drift of memory.
He teaches us lessons.
Listen to his spirit breathe
deep as the Shannon.
His voice forever flies
with the power of knowledge.


'Beautiful dreamer wake unto me,
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for Thee.'




KEITH ARMSTRONG



the jingling geordie

My photo
whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur