© By Tom Paulin
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They cross from Glasgow to a black city
Of gantries, mills and steeples. They begin to belong.
He manages the Iceworks, is an elder of the Kirk
She becomes, briefly, a cook in Carson’s Army.
Some mornings, walking through the company gate,
He touches the bonnet of a brown lorry.
It is warm. The men watch and say nothing.
‘Queer, how it runs off in the night,’
He says to McCullough, then climbs to his office.
He stores a warm knowledge in his palm.
Nightlandings on the Antrim coast, the movement of guns
Now snug in their oiled paper below the floors
Of sundry kirks and tabernacles in that country.
© Tom Paulin, permissons Faber & Faber Ltd.
Tom Paulin’s poem recalls the smuggling of guns into Ulster in 1912 for the Ulster Volunteers who were arming to oppose Home Rule.