My recent visit to Belfast showed me the kind of muscular beauty I love in any city or urban space.
And then, towards the end of my stay there, I ventured over to Queen’s University. I had a fab Guinness in the SU Speakeasy bar; a grand fry in the Other Place nearby, the following day; wonderful walks around campus; bought a primer on Criminology at Blackwell’s; and generally fell in love with evident history and reputation.
But what really blew my mind away were two buildings of such profound contemplation that the peace I found there – as I am remembering it now – can only make me a tad weepy in hindsight.
The first – visited second – was the postgraduate School of Law building: curiously unsigned from without, and entirely sensible and embracing from within. I spoke with a very gentle and softly spoken woman, who provided me with contact details for further information. I went to the website yesterday: I now have a clearcut, absolute goal – achieve a 2:1 in my Master, taking the time I need to do so, and then researching at PhD level in a place I could only dream of being at a year ago.
The second was the wonderful wonderful McClay Library. Oh, what a dream of a building and space. And then inside, on the first floor, to the right as you come out of the lift, the astonishing C.S. Lewis Reading Room. I wrote a poem whilst sitting there; and I wrote it in the presence of a beautiful young woman who reminded me so much of the beautiful Belfast woman the poem was about. The woman who, if nothing else, has been my all-too-real muse over the last thirteen months.
And I realise my future lies in my future; and I realise there is so much I must discard from my past that I really don’t know where to finish.
But at least I have started. At least I have started.