AT PORTADOWN STATION
At Portadown, beside the track,
The sandstone houses, back to back,
Stand shamefully in shabby line
Like Jews to bathe in Belsen's brine;
Their faces chequered all with crude
Grey squares of brick, as if tattooed;
Oblivious to all suns that rise
As corpses with their fastened eyes.
Flung back or smashed, the skylights yawn,
And missing slates, like teeth long drawn,
Uncover skinny, rotting beams.
Deserted all the terrace seems
(Spite of the aerials overhead -
Pharaoh's convenience for the dead).
Bare trees look o'er the roofs behind,
Lean giants, hunters of mankind.
But further to the Belfast side
A doughty one seems occupied:
Battered but scowling through full panes
Defiant, at vicarious trains.
Two shy red chimney pots outpour
A little smoke, and through the door
The voice comes, resonant with life,
Of Noah calling to his wife.