You won’t believe it when it happens,
you who believe in everything but God
(or in nothing but), may not even
know it has happened, though you felt
lighter inside than out, floated above yourself,
flinched at the cold breath of passing
wings, and almost embarked on a ship
made out of fog, the night sailing.
That’s the first stanza of Sam Gardiner’s poem ‘Believe It’, from his 2004 Smith/Doorstop pamphlet The Picture Never Taken. You won’t believe it if you buy his second book, The Night Shifts, when it’s published by Lagan Press next month, if you’ve let all this time go by without discovering this very fine writer before (his first book, Protestant Windows, was published in 2000). Another Northern Irish writer, Nick Laird, has also published his second collection this year. If he and Sam Gardiner could swap their superhero fame points for even the Warholian fifteen minutes, the world would be a much better place.
Photo of Portadown (SG’s birthplace) found here.