A Silent War - Raised (I.S.L.)



Belfast, University of Atypical





03min 09sec







Northern Ireland Screen's Digital Film Archive


Hands That Sign, Jane O'Brien, Ross Thompson

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Northern Ireland Screen, Ross Thompson

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Raised by Ross Thompson, written in Bangor during Lockdown 2020

With your hands dusted as if from reading
tombstones, you lift the dough, warm as laundered
sheets from beneath a towel, and start kneading, 
both heels stretching and pushing to conjure

a stonewashed boulder pillowy to touch
and brewery sweet with scent of soda
and buttermilk. By memory, you tuck
and crimp, inhaling heady aroma

of your mother’s kitchen. Your own songbird, 
dimpled fingers replicas of your own,
mimics your movements. A rising sonder 
briefly flutters your eyelids like the clothes

drying on the line on this warmest month
on record but you blink away the tears,
gently tend the bread and tell her that once,
in the good years before war and the fear

of a wicked disease made us brittle 
and prone to weepy silliness, distant
relatives baked these farls on a griddle 
with ground flour and homegrown ingredients

beneath a chimney swept clean by a goose 
on a string. She yawns and says she was taught 
this in school, and taps her cup for more juice,
leaving snowy ghost prints around the top.


Raised by Ross Thompson

ISL translation and performance by Jane O'Brien

Filmed in University of Atypical by Stuart Calvin

Produced by Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell for Northern Ireland Screen

A Silent War Creative Producers: Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell & Ann Donnelly

Funded by the Department for Communities through Northern Ireland Screen



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