Analysis of ancient streetscapes – Colm Scully

I collect the fragments from “Folklore / History”,

two tired pictures millennia old.

The first is in sepia, smaller and fragile.

I put on gloves, and measure both.


In the second photo the people are hatless,

suits and dress-sense seem little changed.

Walking casually down Grafton Street.

The men are bearded in each frame.


No sign of umbrellas, the day is dry.

The genders are balanced, the ages mixed.

Social strata appear equivalent,

a beggar appearing in both prints.


The buskers maintain the same location,

one has a zither, the other a mandolin,

in front of a café with preserved facade.

At window tables, middle class women,


drink coffee, gaze out, each at their circumstance.

They seem to be asking me, as if in a dream,

“Was that what they died for, to wear no hats?”

There are no flags flying in either scene.

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