Christy Brown Came to Town

03-15 Harris
Richard Harris
Irish
1930 – 2002

Christy Brown came to town riding on a wheelchair

Christy Brown came to town riding on a wheelchair
Back strapped to wheel and chair
Freewheeling down all his days
Into the byways in our heads
Visions bursting from his pen
Ink in blood, left foot in rapture
Riding through Fleet Street pulp
Past paper stand and paste
Ploughing stairs to heaven
Riding on and on and on
His chariot wheels
Conquering heroes in space
In the time allotted for his spin.
Reared in masses his childhood
Playpen on concrete slabs
Turned into flowing fountains
In his fountain pen toes
Ceasing to suffer in the kennel of his bark
Spent dark years with his ears
Tied to his mother’s tongue.
Where are you mother?
I am here, I am here Christy
Growing flowers in your yard
Sending fruit to the marketplace in your soul
Patiently bending my breasts
To feed the hunger in your mind.
Dear bended lady
Drawing she drew in midnight whispers
The elements of verse
Vocalising grammar, building his armory for battle
Filling his long, sleepless, limping nights
With the music of her challenge
And she took a dead season from her womb
And built a birth as bright as Christmas.
In his schoolroom slum
That buried some and crippled most
The toast from her womb grew legs in her words
And walked long distance to the corners of the eart
Striding beyond Getsemane past the Avenue of the Sorrows
Out of Golgatha into resurrection.

Christy Brown came to town riding on a donkey

Christy Brown came to town riding on a donkey
Streets in palms carpeting his Sunday visit
He rode barebacked the donkey of the Apocalypse
Over bridges where crippled water stood still
In the lame shores of our crime.
He rode heaven high over tears and pity
Through the attending city
Where skeletons hid high in the cupboards of our complacency
He rode on and on and on and on her rode
On the laughter in his size
Everlasting in song
Storming our ears in wonder
Making his face shine upon us
And throwing from the seaweeds of his wisdom
Iodine
To heal the wounds of a waiting world.

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