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16 October 2014
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Mike Boyle

I am from Drummuck near Maghera. I attended Trench Belfast in the mid-1960s and Seamus Heaney was one of my teachers. I am now working on a new play about N.Ireland in 1956. Would you believe it that as a "nipper" I was a Christmas Rhymer in South Derry and that then a few years later I took part in the famous mummering tradition of Newfoundland?

Our Parliament House by Mike Boyle

(circa 1950s)

No throne speech here. Our meeting house
Hidden by the zinc roof of the army hut.
Opposite the milk house that kept the blackberries,
then and now.
Blind Nora passed this way to plough the curragh field.
At the junction of the sows field and the metal gate
to Henry’s far back hill. A command post
perched over a prehistoric swamp.
Wag tails and snipe make forlorn cries.
Rye grass - no paper.
Too cold for winter assemblies.
The building still stands - I think.
but the voices are silent.

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A moving piece that captures the initmacy of rural living. Here in this rural hinterland there are no strangers -  it is a social nexus interlaceed with acceptance. Well, this is how read the place of Blind Nora. What I recall too is how the countryside is personalised.Here it's 'Henry's far back hill'. And in the last line an indication of time passed. The doubt that there might be nothing there at all; 'the building still stands - I think' . All memories are silent. 
I want to read more and that has to be good. Empathy established.
Thank you.
Stevie Downes

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