Monday, March 14, 2005

LUAS Red Line

The LUAS stop at Tallaght on a raw
November afternoon is a chill sprawl
of hospitals and shopping malls; a mid-term
pregnant concrete project in construction
sired by the Celtic Tiger, giving birth
to troops of high-viz jackeroos conducting
the business of corporate-ordered paradise.

Trams slip out smooth from wombs of blue and white
hoardings, housing five cranes here, eight cranes there,
pull up the dip and sharply swing a right
through a swathe of hospital and houses
snaking round the winding perimeter
walls and rails of low-rise commercial outlets
along Belgard's dollop of urban countryside;
then down a slope to Kingswood's black cambered
cobblestones and a hamlet of Alpine
style picture postcard abodes in stout set
perfect lines which meander to a standard
stop beside the bare black faery bush at the
Red Cow depot's toy-town-like tram-park.

This commuter bus interchange-complex
awaits a final lay for the sod-fed
turf-green service-landscape to shine complete,
and as our low-slung tram passes over
the M50, past a lumpy scrapheap,
business centres stretch as far as the eye
can see. Harris Hina, an Esso
garage, Electrolux, Woodies DIY
and McDonalds, all merge to a wrapped-neat
blur of consumer-central logo
flags blowing in the breeze at Kylemore
shopper heaven, where a wind-whipped sapling
bends like a fishing rod reeling in the bargains.

Houses start at Bluebell, and a bright horse
and Mother Theresa relief pass in
a slow moment of double-take, startling
the eye to other incongruous sights;
sleek swans and gulls at paddle side by side
along the Grand Canal as a child flings
bread loaf from a buggy at Goldenbridge
whilst dad sparks up then leans against a wall.

An assortment of corporation housing
glides past in a variety of form
from three-storey strip-block flats at Rialto
to one small box of red-brick cottages
at Fatima, where town begins to show
in the barbed razor-wire strung on top
of high walls hugging St James Hospital,
and drunks in garish tracksuits and bubble
jackets dirt-burnished to a lard-like sheen
sup their gargle and stagger befuddled
as the city-centre's pulse begins to beat
in earnest.

At the gatehouse of St Patrick's
scruffy pigeons perch on leafless branches,
a poncho princess alights at Heuston
and the grey stone walls and bricked-up windows
around Smithfield and Four Courts juxtapose
the dilapidation of the Cobblestones
pub with a billowing new commuter
friendly layout running ribbon straight
across O'Connell's heart, through to the
bargain district of the bus station
before lipping round left to terminate
at Connolly, where doors swhoosh open
and we exit and melt into the cold strolling
crowds of Dublin heading homeward.

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