He wrote the score in ’64
A symphony for the ages
Rewrote the scores of heretofore
Laid out his plan in stages.

But many came to damn him down.
With drums and pipe they came to town
While others played along with him
Then chose to sing a different hymn.

He changed the tune about the land.
He marched for peace and marched in sand.
But others beat traditional airs
Indifferent to their neighbours’ cares.

At Sunningdale they tried a tune
But latent hatreds were exhumed.
Drums were battered, voices shrilled,
Lights extinguished, music killed.

Scores of scores of people died.
His symphony had been denied.
His music was in secret mapped
To slow the rate of tit-for-tat.

But he still tried to teach the tune
By repetition still to croon
He persevered, time after time,
Till some, at last, began to mime.

Musicians, recognizing art
Then read the score
And learned their part.

Till harp and flute sat side by side.
With hope and history came the tide
Waves of sound to celebrate
The symphony of ’98.

Anthony Doogan was born in Ballyliffin, Co. Donegal. He has spent the past 21 years as the principal of Moville Community College. His poetry has been written in the last two years.

He wrote two poems on the occasion of John Hume’s death Laoch and Larghissimmo. Larghissimmo is a reflection of John Hume’s life’s work as a piece of music. Larghissimmo is the slowest tempo in music reflecting the time it took for all to come together to agree a peace.

Photo: A portrait of John Hume commissioned following a proposal from the Member for Belfast South, Claire Hanna, and painted by Colin Davidson. It is now hanging in Portcullis House, one of the busiest buildings on the Parliamentary Estate, and marks the contribution the Nobel Peace Prize winner made during his 22 years as a Westminster MP.


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