Citizen Ship Belfast 2013. Nos 21. The Dark Angel of Antrim. By Randall Stephe…

Citizen Ship Belfast 2013. Nos 21.
The Dark Angel of Antrim.
By Randall Stephen Hall. © 2010.

There’s something new and different on a gable wall
in Antrim. It isn’t a flag. It isn’t an aggressive mural. It isn’t
ropey graffiti or even a poster for some event. Some of us
are unable to recognise something special, even when it’s there, standing amongst us. We continue just to opt for the chips in life, rather than taking risks with a new taste to the tongue.

The need for new symbols, that we can all share, stands amongst us, like a missed opportunity, just waiting to happen.

There is, in Antrim town
The dark imprint of an angel.
Dusky silhouette,
On a gable wall.
And yet I’m left to wonder . . .

Yonder, at the wall,
So tall, this dark stain.
The evidence of such a presence
In this local town.
Lounging by the Six Mile Water.

I ought to make a note
So I’ve pressed my pen to paper.
Thrown my coat in the back seat
And not let the moment pass.

The paper bag
Containing his chips,
Dipped in fat and salty confidence.
The evening’s optimism,
Shielded him, or he,r
From being “outed” as an angel
Amongst the Friday throng.

Watching the sizzle
And the Soaps . . .
All queued up for onion rings,
Gravey chips and life on the ropes.
To wrongly assume that
This person, so tall, so tall.
With wings stickin’ out from their shoulders.
Dark, with dark hair and ageless, older
Should be in fancy dress . . .

Of course! That’s it!
For what else could it be?
A hungry stripper maybe?
On their way to an early commission.
Just scootin’ in to this chippy
Feelin’ nippy and on a mission.
For convertin’ fish and chips
into the purest of energies.

They lean towards the T.V. screen
And eagerly listen . . .
Maybe there’s somethin’ exciting happenin’
Somewhere else, out there . . .
But never round here.
“Not much goin’ on round here, eh big lad?”

What left its mark?
Which dog did bark,
At such a sight?
As the tall stranger
As he walked through the wall
That night.
Full bag of chips, fish and all?

The following day
I bent down to pick up
One of the long dark feathers
From out the gutter.
While some neighbours muttered
And murmured on . . .

“Sure, no one would believe me.
As if I could see angels.
Dark or light, it doesn’t much matter,
If one of these were standin’ at my gate
I’d ask him in for a cup of tea.
Offer it gin, right straight I would!

For I’d have some questions for him . . .

Like, where’d my husband go
In Nineteen and Ninety Three?
And, is there life after death
For him and me?”

The dark angel of Antrim.
Still marked there.
Not far from the bottom
of the Greystone Road.

Down past the library and shops.
Take a right down into the town.
Stop before the last round-a-bout.
Look back and left
Right there
Is your reward . . .
If you have eyes to see it.

The Dark Angel of Antrim
Just don’t tell anyone I told you.
It’s just between you and me.


Citizen Ship Belfast 2013. Nos 21.
By Randall Stephen Hall © 2010