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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lough Crew - On a Clear Day you can see forever

This afternoon I finally got to Lough Crew and boy was it worth the wait.  What a fabulous place.  Yesterday I had felt it calling to me, almost whispering to my soul.  It was easy to take a slight detour today coming near Kells and drive to the megalithic site near Oldcastle.   The cairns are dated at about 3,300 b.c.

These hills, known collectively as "Sliabh na Caillighe", or the "Mountain of the Witch" and sometimes "The Storied Hills", are individually called Carnbane West, Carnbane East and Patrickstown.

My friend and I were able to enter the tomb where we saw drawings on the stones.  One drawing looked like a woman with a baby in her arms.  The society which made the cairns was a matriarchal society our guide Malachy Hand told us.  The passage of the tomb is lit by the sun during the spring and autumn equinoxes (either of the two times during a year when the sun crosses the celestial equator and when the length of day and night are approximately equal; the vernal equinox or the autumnal equinox).  It is said that one can see 18 counties from here and we did see the Cooley mountains and the Dublin and Wicklow mountains in the distance.

I found coming down off Loughcrew a little difficult as it is quite steep.  It is such a beautiful place.  I sat on the hag's chair and made a wish.  You have to believe in magic!

Galway again

I was delighted to be back in Salthill again yesterday and it was as peaceful as ever to be there and to walk the prom!  There was a lot going on about the city it seemed.  On Shop Street for example the invisible man was to be found playing the drums.

The Sea said "Come" to the Brook -- by Emily Dickinson

The Sea said "Come" to the Brook --
The Brook said "Let me grow" --
The Sea said "Then you will be a Sea --
I want a Brook -- Come now"!

The Sea said "Go" to the Sea --
The Sea said "I am he
You cherished" -- "Learned Waters --
Wisdom is stale -- to Me"

Dr. Sigmund Freud Discovers the Sea Shell by Archibald MacLeish

Science, that simple saint, cannot be bothered
Figuring what anything is for:
Enough for her devotions that things are
And can be contemplated soon as gathered.

She knows how every living thing was fathered,
She calculates the climate of each star,
She counts the fish at sea, but cannot care
Why any one of them exists, fish, fire or feathered.

Why should she? Her religion is to tell
By rote her rosary of perfect answers.
Metaphysics she can leave to man:
She never wakes at night in heaven or hell

Staring at darkness. In her holy cell
There is no darkness ever: the pure candle

Burns, the beads drop briskly from her hand.

Who dares to offer Her the curled sea shell!
She will not touch it!--knows the world she sees
Is all the world there is! Her faith is perfect!

And still he offers the sea shell . . .

What surf
Of what far sea upon what unknown ground
Troubles forever with that asking sound?
What surge is this whose question never ceases?

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Today I'm going to visit an old friend who I haven't seen in 5 years as she has been abroad.  I don't expect her to have changed that much or for things to have changed between us I should say.  During the week I was thinking about friends and how much they matter in our lives.  They are our other family.

This morning I've been looking up some poems on subject:

Love and Friendship
by Emily Bronte

Love is like the wild rose-briar,
Friendship like the holly-tree—
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
But which will bloom most constantly?

The wild-rose briar is sweet in the spring,
Its summer blossoms scent the air;
Yet wait till winter comes again
And who will call the wild-briar fair?

Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now
And deck thee with the holly's sheen,
That when December blights thy brow
He may still leave thy garland green.

So it's a road-trip ahead for me, oh bliss!  I have my road map and some cds to listen to, Bob Dylan and U2 to start off with.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

5 Answers to 5 Questions

Sorry for taking so long to see this Niamh!

1) Where were you  5 years ago?

I was working part-time in a shoe shop.

It was 2005 and I was deciding to broaden my horizons.

I was poised to fall in love and have a great adventure.

I was rediscovering Nirvana (the music band) had ambitions to learn to play the guitar, I got a red one which I called Rosa, learned to play some chords, that has fallen away

I was learning to be me, I was writing poetry and I was 26

2) Where would you like to be in 5 years time?

Living by the sea, or partly by the sea

Writing and painting, maybe have a novel written or almost written

Sleeping in the arms of someone I love

Near my family

Feeling more secure

3) What is on your to do list today?

I have to be in work at 7.30

I am writing a 16 verse poem that needs to be edited and worked on

I want to be as patient and giving as I can be to the children in work, have fun with my work mates

Hopefully fit my cycle in

Go to Boyne Writers meeting

4) What snacks do you enjoy?



supermacs veggie burger


special-k red berries

5) What 5 things would you do if you were a billionaire?

Make my family and friends comfortable

Help some charities

Own a house by the sea and travel

Do something creative, set up a competition or support the arts

I'd probably get bored if I became a billionaire

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cavan Crsytal Windows Publications Awards 2010

Heather Brett
A huge crowd attended the awards last night in the Cavan Crystal Hotel.  I briefly met Heather Brett who went on to present the awards.  A great number of young people were honoured in the primary and secondary school categories and it is terrific to see such encouragement of poetry at this level. 

The overall winner in the adult category is Michelle O'Sullivan while Grace Wells took second place.  Among those highly commended are Honor Duff, Mairead Donnellan, Mary O'Gorman, David Mohan and myself.  The poem I had commended is called On The Dais of Spring.  It is a 40 line piece with 8 verses of 5 lines and it is written in free verse.  I know I have left out names but perhaps information will be forthcoming on the windows website.  I shook hands with Noel Monahan (Noel and Heather Brett edit Windows Publications) when I collected my certificate. Before leaving I spoke to Honor Duff and the lovely Mairead Donnellan.  My sister was good enough to accompany me to the event. 

While there I picked up a copy of  Windows Publications Authors and Artists Introduction series no. 9.  Michael Farry and Paddy Smith of the Boyne Writers are included in this book. 

"Don't tell me the moon is shining.
Show me the glint of light on broken glass."

Indeed!  This quote from Anton Checkov appears on the inside of the Introduction series.

To go off on a tangent the Boyne readings and open mic took place last night too.  The featured reader was Willie Hodgins of Meath Writers Circle. 

And to further drift - I had close encounters with some swallows today in work.  I was happy to see them swooping and darting about.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Good Sherry Trifle

"True hope is swift, and flies with swallow's wings; Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings."

I spent some time this evening reading Kate Dempsey's poetry pamphlet Good Sherry Trifle which Michael Farry passed on to me at the last Boyne Writers meeting.

The first poem I was attracted to was The Flight of Swallows as I love the physical form of the swallow and have they returned yet this year?  It is horrible to see a bird flying into glass:

"...And she's flown so far

from that baked Sahara fringe,
to this cold north; all so pointless - breaking

on my frayed-sash window.  And me,
my mouth again a soundless O."

By Strawberry Beds is a fresh and energetic piece with great description of Dublin City:

"The Chapelizod ponies drink, heads shaggy to the water;
they examine their reflections,
flicking their manes like schoolgirls."

Each verse in this poem offers something within it so you'll just have to look it up for yourself.

While it Lasted leaves me thinking.  I'm not quite sure what the poem means yet, maybe I'll read it again and again sometime and I will understand it more. 

The Light Fantastic offers a comical and unusual picture of cows in the countryside.  It is too a very good poem.  This image in the first verse is lovely:

"a heavy pause rested
like the silence on an empty beach
after a surfer's wave."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sara Teasdale

I'm up with the birds this morning and I have a day ahead that is looking like a mountain to climb, nevertheless poetry is on my mind to help me through!

Did You Never Know? by Sara Teasdale

Did you never know, long ago, how much you loved me—
That your love would never lessen and never go?
You were young then, proud and fresh-hearted,
You were too young to know.

 Fate is a wind, and red leaves fly before it
Far apart, far away in the gusty time of year—
Seldom we meet now, but when I hear you speaking,
I know your secret, my dear, my dear.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cavan Crystal Windows Poetry Competition

Cave of Swimmers, The English Patient

During the week I received an email from Heather Brett informing me that I've a poem highly recommended in this competition.  It says in the email that one of my poems was in the top ten or so of 500 entries, that's not bad :).  I nearly missed the email as it went to spam in my yahoo mail.  The subjects of the three poems I entered were spring, London and the long woman's grave.  The awards are being presented on Thursday 20th May at 8 pm in the Cavan Crystal Hotel.  I don't know who is the winner yet!

I went for a cycle this morning and it's teriffic to finally sea the grass and the leaves on the trees becoming lush and green.  The cherry blossom is out, the primroses finally appeared a few weeks ago.  All I need now is for the harsh wind to go and for some balmy wind, draught, flatus, afflatus, efflation, eluvium; air; breath, breath of air; puff, whiff, zephyr; blow, drift; aura; stream, current, jet stream; undercurrent., gust, blast, breeze, squall, gale, half a gale, storm, tempest, hurricane, whirlwind, tornado, samiel, cyclone, anticyclone, typhoon; simoon, simoom; harmattan, monsoon, trade wind, sirocco, mistral, bise, tramontane, levanter; capful of wind; fresh breeze, stiff breeze; keen blast; blizzard, barber [Can.], candelia, chinook, foehn, khamsin, norther, vendaval, wuther., windiness; ventosity; rough weather, dirty weather, ugly weather, stress of weather; dirty sky, mare's tail; thick squall, black squall, white squall., anemography, aerodynamics; windgauge, weathercock, weathervane; anemometer, anemoscope., sufflation, insufflation, perflation, inflation, afflation; blowing, fanning; ventilation., sneezing; errhine; sternutative, sternutatory; sternutation; hiccup, hiccough; catching of the breath., Eolus, Boreas, Zephyr, cave of Eolus., air pump, air blower, lungs, bellows, blowpipe, fan, ventilator, punkah; branchiae, gills, flabellum, vertilabrum. zephr to embrace me!

Monday, May 3, 2010


A friend of mine introduced me to the Sufi poet Rumi about four years ago and tonight I care to revisit him.  Rumi was a mystic poet who was born in Afghanistan in 1207.  His work is of course translated into English but how can someone who lived 800 years ago have captivation for me?  I suppose it's the big questions that he tries to answer about love, life and God.  He sets me thinking, confuses and excites me.  Mysticism is fascinating in an unobtainable way.  I would like to touch the candle flame.  Below are some of Rumi's works (He had around 60, 000 apparently).

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.

Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.


One who does what the Friend wants done

will never need a friend.
There's a bankruptcy that's pure gain.
The moon stays bright when it
doesn't avoid the night.
A rose's rarest essence
lives in the thorn.

Some Kiss We Want

There is some kiss we want with
our whole lives, the touch of

spirit on the body. Seawater
begs the pearl to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling! At

night, I open the window and ask
the moon to come and press its

face against mine. Breathe into
me. Close the language- door and

open the love window. The moon
won't use the door, only the window.

Not Here

There's courage involved if you want
to become truth. There is a broken-

open place in a lover. Where are
those qualities of bravery and sharp

compassion in this group? What's the
use of old and frozen thought? I want

a howling hurt. This is not a treasury
where gold is stored; this is for copper.

We alchemists look for talent that
can heat up and change. Lukewarm

won't do. Halfhearted holding back,
well-enough getting by? Not here.