And the pain of some change cannot be avoided;
and the bravery I thought was not mine to be sensed
now senses itself where it will need to be found.
And once, not long ago, I learnt to fly;
and I flew so very high, and have done this so many times since,
that I considered myself fearless: which is to say,
not a brave man at all; just a man without fear; a fraud
almost – one might say – of some human seeing.
But the other day in Belfast, the fear returned fully
as I climbed narrowing stairs; and so I saw the dear city
in all its grand virtue; I saw the dear city as it is.
And the complexity of this other seeing
matched my own view of myself right then and now.
I am here to be climbed, dear Belfast woman; but here, too,
to climb with you.
And the shame some will attribute us
will not be shared in any way by me: for the man
who considered himself fearless now realises
his real degree of bravery.
And all this time that he has rhymed and told,
without ever attempting to scold those around him,
he has discovered so close the meaning of true friendship:
it’s the wanting and yearning and remembering and doing;
and it’s the wanting to share and the yearning for your touch
and the remembering of our brevity, so wonderful, so much;
and finally – this finally! – it’s the doing together we might be
for the rest of our lives, and the essence of our thrive.
So when I ultimately accept that – once again –
there is really no avoiding of this pain that approaches shortly,
I also must recognise that through living this pain,
neither shall I be able – any more! – to avoid
this each other of ours:
that truly felt joy we now wonderful promise.