A walk on fine lines, by Britta Benson

This poem is a direct response to Brian Vos’s Weekly Poetry Prompt https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/107936767/posts/3839475648. I thoroughly enjoy his weekly challenges.

This week, ‘Random Entry’, the challenge is to simply start with an object and a scene and then see where it takes you. I had a wee look through an old notebook and came across thoughts I jotted down while visiting the Ulster Museum in Belfast. Here’s my poem. A walk on fine lines.

A walk on fine lines

I flick through an old notebook

and land in November.


three wicker dragons dangle from the ceiling.

I stand sandwiched between a blow moulded glass blanket

and Edmontosaurus, composite skeleton, herbivore.

Right in front of me, the Muiredach’s Cross,

10th century, perhaps older,

a tall bible in stone,

the highlight edition,

including last judgement and wise men,

all faces nearly gone,

ghosts telling stories.

Then, the Troubles and beyond,

husbands, daughters, bombs,

absences, presences,

they fall like stars from the sky.

Where are they?

Seeds of hope,

the phone number of trauma centres.

Chinese lotus shoes,

red for knowledge,

pink blossoms for devotion,

the smallest of small.

Of all the exhibits,

this is the one,

life put in here just for me:

The olive green rotary phone, early 70s.

We had exactly the same in our family home,

I touch my history.

An old lady smiles, says:

‘I had one too’.

My fingers hover,

want to dial numbers,

learned by heart when I was wee,

unforgettable, core knowledge of my soul.

I want to feel the resistance of the dial,

hear the whirr,

speak to the dead.

18th November,

notes from a visit to the Ulster Museum in Belfast.

A journey into pasts, presents, worlds.

A lump in my throat.

2 thoughts on “A walk on fine lines, by Britta Benson

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