Listen: ‘Hometown Blues’ – a poem by William Wall, Cork’s poet laureate 

William Wall is a poet from Cork, and was recently appointed the city’s first Poet Laureate. 

An initiative of the Munster Literature Centre that is funded by Cork City Council, Wall’s role will writing a poem every month for the next ten months, giving a personal response to issues in the city and county. 

The Irish Examiner will publish these poems in the first week of every month, and the works will also be collected into a chapbook to be launched at next year’s Cork World Book Festival.

Hometown blues 

i.m. Rory Gallagher

as I step the boards

feeling that familiar bounce

I hear the shouts 

the stamping feet 

I am back in ’71

my best friend and me

up from the country 

for the homecoming

Rory’s mama in the kitchen

his dad saying get a job son

a million crazy fans

stamping out the rhythm 

the whole floor a drum

(you can’t fight city hall) 

hair and flares and crazy shirts 

I’m going to my hometown

the whirligig of time 

declares me old enough

for this round of vaccine 

two young soldiers marshal 

me to my stall

(you can’t fight city hall)

a young nurse gives me the talk 

and waves a hypodermic 

they’ll be holding me a while

ambulance crew guide me

to my seat among the geriatrics 

I look at all the waiting 

sixty-five year olds and think 

how many of us were here

in this place fifty years ago

when Rory played my hometown 

(Cork City Hall Vaccination Centre, May 2021)

Listen to William Wall reading Hometown Blues in the player above.

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