“The Village Where I Went To School”
O'er youthful peasants and declining swains;
What labour yields, and what, that labour past,
Age, in its hour of languor, finds at last;
What form the real picture of the poor,
Demand a song — The Muse can give no more. (George Crabb.)
“Behan’s Bush” across from the shop was a meeting place where pitch-and-toss was played and information exchanged.
For talking age and whispering lovers made!
How often have I bless’d the coming day,
When toil, remitting, lent its turn to play,
And all the village train, from labour free,
Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree!
While many a pastime circled in the shade,
The young contending as the old survey’d;
Outside, old axles and iron hoops rusting;
Inside, the hammered anvil’s short-pitched ring,
The unpredictable fantail of sparks
Or hiss when a new shoe toughens in water.
The anvil must be somewhere in the centre,
Horned as a unicorn, at one end and square,
Set there immoveable: an altar
Where he expends himself in shape and music.
Sometimes, leather-aproned, hairs in his nose,
He leans out on the jamb, recalls a clatter
Of hoofs where traffic is flashing in rows;
Then grunts and goes in, with a slam and flick
To beat real iron out, to work the bellows. (Seamus Heaney.)
By holding out to tire each other down;
The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter titter’d round the place;
The bashful virgin’s side-long looks of love;
Still let thy voice, prevailing over time,
Redress the rigours of th’ inclement clime; (Goldsmith.)
will bring you people
with its ring,
people who do not know what to do with
and they will ache to
infect you with
from a distance
(although they would prefer
to actually be in the same room
to better project their nullity upon
The telephone is needed for
emergency purposes only.
Lacken eventually got a Phone-Box and conversations could be carried out in a stentorian voice without fear of “ear-wigging.” Some “coins” used were not Legal Tender (or even legal.) Washers of a certain diameter and “push-outs” from galvanised junction-boxes, used by electricians, would suffice. (Or so I’m told.)
By “tapping out” the numbers on the top of the cradle (1,9 and 0 were free) one could get through to any number. (Or so I’m told.)
Another favourite trick was to block the return-chute with a piece of rolled up twine and to return for the proceeds when a number of people had pressed “Button B” without getting any refund. (Or so I’m told.)
At times in rural Ireland the Phone-box was often utilised for erotic pelvic activity while parallel with the perpendicular. (Or so I’m told.)
When a not-too-well-liked person would be retiring it would be said, “They’re holding his retirement do in a phone-box”.
On one occasion, a female, from a neighbouring parish, who was presumed to have contracted a “social disease” used the phone and civic-minded local woman immersed it (the phone, not the female caller) in a bucket of Jeye’s Fluid. This caused a malfunction which the P&T engineer couldn’t find a cause for.
The Post Office was moved to a private residence in 1970 and eventually thanks to the powers in Dublin it eventually “fell to progress.” Like many another village in Ireland Lacken was now without a Post Office.
E’en now the devastation is begun,
And half the business of destruction done; (Goldsmith.)
|The Lacken Schoolhouse|
A new school was built in 2010 and the old schoolhouse, no longer houses the moulding of the minds of the young and is now a community centre but,
And locked the classroom door. (Philip Larkin.)
And now we are at the mercy of:
shop, then go
The members of the Lacken Community Development Association are doing their best to ensure that Lacken doesn’t become a deserted village. They need all the help they can get.
Their email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Billy Keane's new book|