TV and Radio

Radio review: Stumbling Across the Peaceline

Belfast's peacelines were the theme of BBC Radio 4's Along the Peace Line. Picture by Mal McCann

A Psalm for the Scaffolder, BBC Radio 4

Along the Peace Line, BBC Radio 4

A poet? The rest of my family might not consider it a job, jokes Kim Moore. But a poet is who she is.

An artist has come to paint her portrait. You can hear the soft scuff of a brush on canvas as she talks.

Kim's dad has been a scaffolder his whole life, she says. He can't walk past a scaffold without staring at it.

My own father was like that with telephone wires.

Her father is passionate about his work. Kim confesses to a secret desire to be a poet in residence on a scaffolding site.

Her dad doesn't think so.

I don't know anybody in the building trade who reads poetry, he says.

In the background, the iron struts clatter, the hammers thwack.

Her poem - A Psalm for the Scaffolder - is tender.

It is a psalm for all of them - including the ones who don't like heights but spend their whole lives hiding it.

Her family has grafted their whole lives and she grafts too, but differently.

There is a hint of the Seamus Heaney poem, Digging, about it. The love shines through.

I stumbled upon this on the car radio the other day and found it hauntingly beautiful.

I also stumbled upon Across the Peace Line - the thoughts of Maria Fusco and Glenn Patterson, both writers, both with a close connection to Belfast's peace walls.

Maria Fusco's mother put her out in her pram to get air when she was a small child. The family lived in Ardoyne.

A grenade came over the peace line and landed close by. The pram went up into the air, but because it had good suspension, it bounced.

"I was fine" she said.

Glenn Patterson went back to the Shankill Road - he had family living there and visited often as a child.

He knew it well. He remembers his mother singing a hymn to soothe things as they drove through riots.

"Remember," he asks his mother.

"It was probably, Row, row, row your boat," she replies and they laugh.

This was a documentary peppered with old news footage full of long ago sounds... riots, petrol bombs, batons thumped on the iron wall at the peace line, the deep hum of helicopters, sirens blaring.

Never again, never go back.

These were haunting memories of childhoods lived out in a 'normality' that was anything but normal.

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