Belfast Light

Tuesday at five am Liverpool St train station, London   I ask a homeless man for a light.    I offer him a cigarette. He doesn’t want one.   He suggests I keep his lighter.  He has others.  “you’ll always need light” he says. I do. I keep his lighter.  I thank him.   I arrive and the plane leaves at  7.55 with the  same swoop as an ice-cream scoop,   Take Off. Upp up and away.    Morning sun arrived as part of in-flight entertainment. At Bright   Belfast international Aiport in Antrim  I’m met at the concourse by hurrying  and softly spoken Kate  the librarian.

The car hums like a quieter version of the plane.  “Saw the spring lambs today”  she says” as we swept  down into Belfast,  into the mouth of Belfast  lock.  “I love to see the spring lambs” she says.  The City is surrounded by hills. Black
Mountain, White Mountain, Divis Mountain, Cave Hill.    Scotland  resplendent  across the Irish Sea bathes  in ocean light. Spring is really here.

I check in to my favourite Northern Ireland hotel,   Madisons on Lisburn Road and
immediately   go out to see Dave at the bookshop, No Alibis.    By noon the sky is blue and the light is crisp.  I am driven back to newly built Antrim Library.  There’s a poem  inscribed into it’s windows  called “Composed for Spring”.    Light streamed through the frosted lettering. And by 1pm I am giving a talk  to young people from probation service.  They lit up as did I.

At  3pm I am at BBC back  in Belfast for a recorded interview for a show  called arts extra. At  8pm I am driven  back to  Antrim Library again  for a public reading.  The broadcast went out at 6pm.    It’s the first ever reading at this brand new library – I am its first visiting author.    At 11pm back at the hotel I am ready to sleep –   the homeless man back at Liverpool St Station in London who gave  a light he said   “We all need light.”  And with that I switched off the bedside light and slipped into dreamtime.

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