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Thursday, 18 February 2021

The Mournes, by Helen Waddell

Its my Birthday today. I'm missing Banbridge, The Mournes and friends and family. The Mournes are the mountain range I grew up near, and loved to escape to on bicycle, by car and by foot. 

Helen Waddell was an academic, playwright, poet and novelist who loved Banbridge and the Mournes too. She wrote this poem after the loss of a friend.

There are many people I'd love to be sitting by that winter fire, having a bit of craic. 

The Mournes {by Helen Waddell} 
I shall not go to heaven when I die.
But if they let me be
I think I'll take a road I used to know
That goes by Slieve-na-garagh and the sea.
And all day breasting me the wind will blow,
And I'll hear nothing but the peewit's cry
And the sea talking in the caves below.
I think it will be winter when I die
(For no one from the North could die in spring)
And all the heather will be dead and grey,
And the bog-cotton will have blown away,
And there will be no yellow on the wind.
But I shall smell the peat,
And when it's almost dark I'll set my feet
Where a white track goes glimmering to the hills,
And see, far up, a light
--Would you think Heaven could be so small a thing
As a lit window on the hills at night?--
And come in stumbling from the gloom,
Half-blind, into a firelit room.
Turn, and see you,
And there abide.
If it were true,
And if I thought that they would let me be,
I almost wish it were tonight I died."

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