Woodvale Road

I remember Woodvale Road when it was young.
Houses had large gardens
The fences were low
And neighbors talked to each other.
There were open spaces for kids to play
Toys lay scattered on lawns at night
Doors may or may not have been locked
And everyone slept soundly.

I remember going home after late nights out with friends
And walking the last stretch of Woodvale Road with shoes in hand,
Careful not to alert parents or neighbors to our near dawn returns.
The stillness that night time brings is not suited to teenagers.
The front door lock was always tricky
Poised to betray my entry.
Did you ever hear me?

I remember I’d always stop at the foot of the stairs
And listen for the familiar creak of floorboards,
A signal that someone had heard me.
And sneaking to the kitchen to satisfy alcohol induced hunger
That only food from a mother’s fridge can quell.
In my mind’s eye, I can still see our little kitchen,
I can even smell it.
Mushy peas soaking on the stove top,
Potatoes peeled and soaking in a pot,
Trifle setting in the fridge,
And silence.
Absolute silence.

Many years have passed since those early mornings on Woodvale Road.
Children no longer play there now
Toys no longer cover lawns
The houses all have gates
And trees circle the gardens.
The neighbors are not how I remember them,
They have aged and walk a little slower.
Kids that once ran so carefree have long since grown and moved to other places
And doors are locked by day.
Woodvale Road does not sleep so soundly anymore
And neither do I.

© 2007, Tim Prendeville

Woodvale Road is a poem about the road I grew up playing on and is a piece I enjoyed writing.  In 1961 my parents put a down payment on the house that would become my home, house number 46 on Woodvale Road.  The princely sum of 2000 Irish Pounds bought them a 3 bedroom / one bathroom semi-detached house with an enormous back yard.  At the time, 2000 pounds was an awful lot of money, but when adjusted for inflation would in today’s housing market, be a steal.  The house was one of several hundred being built in the affluent area of Blackrock, a suburb about 4 miles from Cork city.  Woodvale Road was carved out of a mud trail that ran through farmland, and indeed to this day, I can still remember cows coming up to our back wall and me trying to feed them grass.  Of course that all changed with the beginning of phase two, which was the building of Silverdale right behind us.  Such creativity these builders had for naming track houses.  There was nothing silver about the development, as all it did was take away the perfectly good view of rolling hills that we enjoyed from our back garden, and replace it with several hundred more houses.  Still, we knew no better than to complain, and life was good.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Éadaoin Tuohy Carrick on November 30, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Hi Tim, I remember Woodvale Road too, your beautiful lyrics evoke wonderful memories of bygone days, thank you.

  2. Posted by Eileen Prendeville on January 9, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    I wish I could say something brilliant and succinct to add to Neils comment. All I can say is that it really is so beautifully written. It breaks my heart. It feels like a late Saturday night in her kitchen reading it. Oh God, if only.

  3. Posted by neil prendeville on December 27, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    an excellent description of where we grew up. well done tim for capturing it so beautifully, neil

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