Strand Cinema Poem


for John McBride Neill


There was the Savoy and Lyceum,

the Majestic and Colosseum,

the Regal and the Roxy,

the Tonic and the Troxy,

the Princess and the Pallidrome,

the Alhambra and Hippodrome.

Great picture palaces,

art deco and glass,

velvet and brass,

where the poor of Belfast

could feel like stars

for a night.


And the Strand,

sailing up the Holywood Road

like a great ocean liner,

where my grandmother

took a flask of tea and sandwiches

to Gone With The Wind,

and my father watched

Flash Gordon and Roy Rodgers,

and rode an imaginary

Trigger the two miles home.


Now the Lido is a chapel,

the Metro sells fried chicken

the Apollo, a Chinese supermarket,

and the Alpha, a loyalist drinking den.


But the Strand,

where my father

saw Flash kiss Dale,

and my grandmother

saw Rhett kiss Scarlet,

where I kissed a girl badly

in the back row, five minutes

before the film ended,


the Strand

still stands.

still stands.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s