Quinsboro Road April Morning

Quinsboro Road -- Bray, Co. Wicklow

Quinsboro Road bristled with morning light

Dazzling concrete paths, street, walls, windows and doors

Were all singing and cheering, people were completely ignored.

The street tapped the soles of my feet and called up to me

Hey man, dance its party time, get with it, let yourself go

Brilliant I said, but what’s the occasion, a wedding or a feast.

No occasion, we do this every morning, thought we’d let you know!

Shop windows were flirting with the sun, inviting him to come

In and then rejecting him, but he played the game and tried

Every one, what fun, sometimes he lost, sometimes he won.

The lampposts were all marching up and down shouting Hey

You paths there, cool it, stay off the street, keep in line.

The paths ignored them and continued running up and down

This is our town they shouted we’ll do what we damn well like.

A Georgian door was singing 0 Sole Mio, pure tenor backed

By a quartet of Georgian windows that joined in the chorus.

Christ he’s just as good a Jussi Bjorling I remarked to a cherry tree

That was crying it’s petals off in a well heeled garden. Pretty lady

Why? She blushed and said ‘for love for joy’. Don’t mind me

I’m so happy, it happens every time he sings, he really knows

How to pull my strings. Go for it I called to the Georgian halldoor

You’ve got it, flaunt it, they’ll come begging for more. His notes

Soared clean and sweet in the sparkling air, I walked on and I

Could hear a magnolia singing ‘One Fine Day’ so exquisitely and I

Like the Cherry Tree cried for pure love and joy, don’t mind me

I said, I’m just a boy, who wants to let it all hang loose, who wants

To know the tender pain of something lost, some sweet pale

Memories from the past, don’t mind me, these tears won’t last.

Two dustbins, neat, on wheels, a bus stop and a wrought iron gate

Were really rocking it and it seemed the whole street was

Gathering round to hear these cool dudes, boy what a sound.

The bus stop played the double base, the gate was on the drums

One bin played sax and the other, how he sang, let it rip, till

Everyone was dancin’ and wow when he flipped head over heels

And ended with the splits, the street just went crazy and screamed

More! More! And I could still hear the beat as I moved on towards

The railway crossing, down to the sea where the waves were wavin’

Up at me. I waited at the crossing while the DART whistled by

I’m off to Howth she laughed, hate to leave the party but hey

I’ll be back this afternoon and I’ll see you all then, the street said

Go baby, we’ll be rockin’ here till ten. The gate lifted and I made for

The sea,. It said rest your bones brother, we’ll play some sweet harmony

I lay on the beech and let it roll over me, over this brilliant day

On the Quinsboro Road when I walked down to the dancing sea.

© Dermot McCabe

I was feeling pretty good when I wrote this poem. It was one of those bright sunny mornings in April when everything seemmed alive and exuberant. I was footloose with nothing to do but enjoy  the inconsequential magic of ordinary things in an ordinary town.



2 thoughts on “Quinsboro Road April Morning

  1. Royal corner Chicken Reilly Herald or Mail? How can such a small man carry so many newspapers under his arm? A local hero Andy Capped fag in mouth. Why did the chicken cross the road? To sell papers, of course. Royal cinema free show paid by parish priest – me and Pat Smith straight in, straight to the front seats,looking neck-craned up to peanut-shaped cinemascopic cowboy heads. But where are the actors? Behind the screen for ‘the pictures’, only their image for ‘filims’. Jump a decade and we’re in Mezza’s stretching a sixpenny coffee over an evening hoping the girls would come by to watch us aimlessly, yet hopefully intellectually studying an incomprehensible chess board chequered dial. Johnson Mooney & O’Brien bought a horse for one and nine. The Melifont with not a Cistercian to be seen. The watchmaker, the clothier, the bicycle repairman by the Post Office, the wine shop. Lees drapery with its catapulted capsules of cash flying across to the cashier. A time when GBH sold you an ice cream and let you watch its electric train set ungrieviously bodily harmfully. The mysterious and defunct turkish baths. The stretch of big houses down to the Carlisle Grounds where Bray Wanderers, winfully or loseingly stamped their authority. Owen Carrol’s disallowed penalty on the grounds it broke the net and was last seen spheroidically sailing over the Harbour Bar. The International Hotel with 365 windows opposite the uneasy war memorial. Fatima House – Checkpoint Mary – the border post between the Quinsboro Road, the sea and the rest of the world.

    • Wonderful memories, Fran, and a terrific word-picture. I just love Checkpoint Mary – the border post. It is so accurate on so many levels. I remember Mezza’s loitering with intent over a coffee or a plate of chips, thinking we were the centre of the universe. Thank you for all the reminders. Dermot

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