© By Frank Ormsby
At high tide the sea is under the city,
A natural subversive. The Farset,
Forced underground, observes no curfew,
And, sleepless in their beds, the sullen drains
Move under manholes.
Blame fall on the builders, foolish men.
This strained civility of city, sea, breaks
Yearly, snapped by native rains,
Leaving in low streets the sandbagged doors,
The furnished pavements.
© Frank Ormsby, Floods, 1986, complete text, A Northern Spring, 1986, The Gallery Press.
Frank Orsmby’s description of the tendency to flooding in Belfast may be an analogy for the periodic eruptions of violence in the city.