Home is where the heart is

Drumbeg man Robert Irwin has just published his latest collection of poetry.

Entitled ‘Homings’, the book includes a compendium of poems penned by the Lisburn ex-pat, including many in tribute to his former hometown.

This is Robert’s third book, following on from ‘Some Measured Canaan’ and ‘Many Ways’.

Since reaching the ripe old age of 80, Robert has now placed an increasing emphasis on recollections of early life in Lisburn and the effects of the ageing process.

Robert, who was born in Wilmont Cottage in 1933, is a former pupil of Drumbeg School and the old Lisburn ‘Tech’ in Castle Street.

One of Robert’s poems, entitled ‘Kingmaker Re-visited’ is penned in memory of Dr Samuel Semple, the first Freeman of the city of Lisburn and one of Robert’s former teachers.

He also shares memories of playing in Wallace Park, of learning of the outbreak of war whilst at school in Drumbeg, his years in Castle Street at Lisburn Tech, and falling in love on the banks of the River Lagan.

‘Kingmaker Re-Visited’

In memory of the late Dr Samuel Semple MBE JP,

First Freeman of the City of Lisburn

Composed, in celebration of his ninetieth birthday, 2007.

Yes, we remember you still, who on long-past

celandine-golden summer afternoons

as long as centuries, whittled our minds

into the shapes of learning. In your drab

and buzzing schoolroom you anointed us

kings over books. You have us Hardy’s heath

Goldsmith’s deserted village with its ghosts.

and Hohenlinden’s snows to be our realms.

Standing with us and Cortez on that peak

in Darien, you showed us sun-bright seas

of prose and verse: broad coast-lands to explore

and cherish. Now accept the thanks we owe,

and blessings for the crowns you gently placed

on tremulous heads in summers long ago.