The Chinese Restaurant in Portrush by Derek Mahon

Before the first visitor comes the spring
Softening the sharp air of the coast
In time for the first ‘invasion’.
Today the place is as it might have been,
Gentle and almost hospitable. A girl
Strides past the Northern Counties Hotel,
Light-footed, swinging a book-bag,
And the doors that were shut all winter
Against the north wind and the sea mist
Lie open to the street, where one
By one the gulls go window-shopping
And an old wolfhound dozes in the sun.

While I sit with my paper and prawn chow mein
Under a framed photograph of Hong Kong
The proprietor of the Chinese restaurant
Stands at the door as if the world were young,
Watching the first yacht hoist a sail
— An ideogram on sea-cloud – and the light
Of heaven upon the mountains of Donegal;
And whistles a little tune, dreaming of home.

Image result for Chinese restaurant

This is the third poem upon this theme following my previous posting. Notice that the place is only almost hospitable. This reservation is somehat typical of Mahon. Nevertheless there is a lovely  relaxed and informal feel about this poem and the sense that home is not entirely out of reach.

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