Yesterday, I had the good fortune to spend time with veteran and legendary Belfast-born actor James Ellis and his wife Robina. It was Jimmy's birthday and we had a nice lunch and a great chat. I met Jimmy for the first time in the summer of 2010 when we were involved in a BBC TV documentary on the actor Stephen Boyd.
When it was time for me to go, Jimmy gave me a copy of his poetry book "Domestic Flight" with this inscription:
"For my dear friend and fellow Belfast-man Joe Cushnan, with fondest wishes, Jimmy Ellis."
It is a wonderful book and I urge you to seek it out. Here's a poem:
OVER THE BRIDGE
for Paddy Devlin
I crossed a bridge and thought to shake the dust
From off my feet, but it was not to be;
For though I fled across the Irish Sea,
Nursing resentment and profound disgust
That individuals had betrayed their trust
And held the public stage in ignominy,
Events o'ertook the ancient enemy,
And time has mellowed memory, as it must.
Homeward I crawl, a wretched prodigal,
To bide awhile, and then again depart -
To leave once more, once more to feel bereft -
Your picture album in my mental holdall,
The hills of Antrim etched upon my heart,
For truth to tell, I never really left.