This poem is from "A Belfast Kid" available in paperback from all major online booksellers.....
We would go to the old man,
children in awe, to ask him questions
and off he'd go with a story,
true or false, we didn't care.
He had his way with words,
inflections and drama,
whispers and facial expressions,
measured blinks, scary stare.
The bottom step was our place,
where five or six kids sat,
he perched on the top step,
smelly pipe and floppy hat.
Stories of childhood, of school, of war,
told by the man we knew as Ned,
but reality hit us hard one summer,
when we heard our storyteller was dead.
We would go to the steps, children in grief,
and picture the man alert but frail,
he left us suddenly but he left us a gift
a love of language, a love of a tale.