Visiting Franner - A Poem
Poet, and 'Franner Boy', Gerard Smyth came to visit his former school in October 2018. Gerard searched through old school roll books and found there his own name, as well as those of his former classmates. Gerard also visited our 5th class that day where the class greeted him with some singing and many questions. He answered the inquisitive boys' questions and penned this poem following that visit.
(On returning to my old school in Francis Street, 50 years later)
They blend into memory,
the school desk with the inkwell, the black soutane,
my friend, the butcher's son humming Let's Twist Again.
and we went running into the afternoon sun or blowing rain.
I returned again to that childhood school,
saw my name inscribed on a page
from the year Gagarin became the first man in space
while here on earth prayers were offered
for those on the wrong side of the Berlin wall.
The ledger had names in Gaelic form but the faces
they should have prompted were too faded from memory.
And after the classroom song and welcoming ceremony
when I saw those hands in the air
I remembered there are questions I have no answer for.
Gerard Smyth, October 2018/September 2019