12NOW: Patricia Devlin-Hill

patricia-devlin-hillPatricia Devlin-Hill was born in Belfast. The first poem she remembers writing, in Primary 5, was inspired by The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and her first publication was in The Young Irish Writers column of the Irish Times, when that column started up in the early seventies. The poetry faded then for a while, with physics taking its place, and taking Patricia eventually to CERN as a Fellow.

Today, Patricia works as a future systems architect and writes poetry in her free time with many of her poems published in Poetry NI’s FourXFour Poetry Journal, the Semaphore Anthology and in the Community Arts Partnership (CAP)/ Literature and Verbal Arts (LaVA) anthologies. This year Patricia’s poem ‘Tea’ was short listed for the CAP/LaVA Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing 2016. Patricia often performs at Poetry NI’s Open Mic Evenings in the Crescent Arts Centre, Poetry Slams and at Red Pill, CAP/LaVA and Waterstones’ events.

Patricia draws mainly on her observations of others, her personal experiences and research (particularly for science based themes) when writing.


Belfast Sky

I
(East Belfast, Samson and Goliath of
Harland and Wolff, Union Jacks on the 12th.)

Yellow. Horizontal.
Two long block beams.
Branded sky to you.
Done when you were a child.
Watercolours flutter
fresh against clouds,
that always part on the glorious day.

II
(West Belfast, The Falls, Clonard,
Tricolours.)

I checked. Drove the route,
my feet would have skipped,
or walked, to school, busless, along,
beneath the buff sky:
It is still blue virgined.
Distant glimpses of yellow.
Distant block beams.
Different watercolours flutter.


Homed to Belfast

Planting trees,
I brought the wind here,
put sails on the Atlantic,
chartered it back
down a city street,
landed it with the goldfinches.

Before the slow ox bow swerve
of the Lagan
to tall ship ribs,
monuments erupted upward,
as tall as the buildings
the city had hung
its clothes on,
buttoned its coat,
looked down,
hands in pockets.

Such Titanic ribs begat my father,
from his father, who came and
casual worked within them once,
and carved the Virgin and Joseph
from wood grain into a church
in this city of churches,
cathedral, pro-cathedral, monastery.
He begat with a woman of linen,
come with a name with a silent ‘t’,
and they stayed.

And later,
The Troubles again,
cursed, split time, spat
on love and work and affiliations.

Back in the wind with the finches
I feel owned,
and not owning.