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16 October 2014
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Andrew Bellamy
Pauline Burgess

Pauline Burgess, 38, is from Rostrevor, County Down and has been teaching English and Politics at St. Malachy’s High School for 16 years. Pauline enjoys writing short stories for children and has recently completed a distance learning course with the Academy of Children’s Writers. Along with this she has also enjoyed a number of successes in national writing competitions with publications such as ‘Writers’ Forum’ magazine and ‘The Sunday Times’.

La Belle Epoque by Pauline Burgess

The spirit of Christmas passes him by

As he sits there maudlin with self-pity

Crying street-side into his paper decanter

Wholly oblivious to the buzz of the city

No family or loved ones to give respite

Given up long ago for the thirst for wine

No fireside hearth for this poor sinner

Just days and nights of incessant time

As Belfast glitters below Cave Hill

The tormented soul scuffles and shivers

Under grey beaded hills and flurries of rain

Embarrassed glances from guilty givers

Rambling, regretting, no-one listening

Eyes mottled with sorrow and cut-price liquor

Shabby coated in his cardboard abode

No festive cheer for this heartbroken drinker

Black-headed gulls squabble overhead

This shapeless spectre lost in a wilderness

Yellowy lights dripping and Christmas carols

Shield the fortunate from a figure so piteous

Perhaps some day he'll find his salvation

As light glides over the tide at Belfast Lough

Through mists at morning his soul will rise

Out of the depth of darkness to belle époque!

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Helen's Bay
La Belle Epoque

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