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Sunday, October 28, 2012


I'm reading Dracula in bed. It is Sunday morning and I have a whole free day ahead. Bliss. Jonathan Harker has just been brought to the Count's Castle in a carriage by a driver with seemingly red eyes and sharp teeth. As if that wasn't enough for grave (get it) concern the carriage has been trailed by werewolves. And the native people in taverns and villages keep blessing themselves!

I downloaded Bram Stoker's novel on iBooks for free, along with Frankenstein and The Great Gatsby, which are two of my favourite books.

I can hear the rain falling outside in faint patterns which pulls me to poetry. I read a great quote the other day:

"The cure for everything is saltwater: sweat, tears, and the sea." Karen von Blixen

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy Hallowe'en


Happy Hallowe'en all.  I know it is an early greeting but I'm working to deadlines these days.  I uploaded my first two assignments to moodle this morning.  That was scary.  I hope I get on okay with them when they're graded.  I just wrote my first poem in weeks.  I think it would not stand up to much criticism but I liked the fact that it flowed out.  I might try this approach again later.  There's  a Boyne Writers' meeting tomorrow night but I have classes.
If you find the spirit of Hallowe'en can you put it in a phial for me?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Finding Penelope by James Lawless

James Lawless invites you to the launch of his novel Finding Penelope and perhaps to partake of a glass of wine in Hodges Figgis, Dawson Street on Tues. Oct. 30 at 6.30 pm.  James Lawless was born in Dublin and divides his time between Co. Kildare and West Cork. He is the author of the novels Peeling Oranges (Killynon House, 2007), For Love of Anna (New Generation, 2009) and The Avenue (Wordsonthestreet, 2010), and a study of modern poetry, Clearing the Tangled Wood: Poetry as a Way of Seeing the World (Academica Press, USA, 2009).  His poetry collection Rus in Urbe was published this summer by Doghouse.  Awards include the Scintilla Welsh Open Poetry Competition, the Cecil Day Lewis Award, the Sunday Tribune/Hennessy and Willesden Herald award nominations, the WOW Award and a Biscuit International prize for short stories.
I've been learning about Jean Piaget's theories about how children learn tonight.  Keywords would be schema, conservation, egocentrism, cognitive developmental theory.  I've a lot more to read and understand.  I'm also coming to terms with the ins-and-outs of Harvard Referencing again.  Ah well Rome wasn't built in a day.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mary Lavin

Bective Abbey
I took to thinking about Mary Lavin in the last week or so, just fleetingly on and off.  I think it was the elusive white horse near Bective that made me think of her spirit and of my childhood.  Bective Abbey and Mary Lavin were closely related in my mind because when I would cycle down to the Abbey, like lots of children did then, to explore and climb while seeking adventure, her house was visible in the background.  It wasn't really that safe for us to be playing in the Abbey and I think my friend's younger brother broke his arm there at some stage.  The River Clady flows nearby through Wymes' Wood and in school the teacher read us some of Mary Lavin's stories.  One day a few of us pretended to be The Famous Five and snook into the wood to look for Clady Graveyard.
My mother remembered seeing the writer at Mass in Dunderry and she was an eccentric figure to the local people.  Mum said she rode a bicycle everywhere and there were stories of her just upping and leaving in her car to travel around Europe.  After her first husband died she married an ex Jesuit priest with whom she had been friends in her college days.  I suspect the stories we read in school were from Tales From Bective Bridge.  I have never read the stories nor any of her works since.  Perhaps I will seek out that collection.  And I must ask my parents more about the area and their childhoods.
Another story relating to her which I have stored away and which I really shouldn't be telling you now is in relation to my father.  Dad bought hay from her field in Bective one year, long ago, in the eighties and he said that a whirlwind went across the field.  It was a Fairy Wind, a Gaoithe Sidhe!

This year marks the centenary of Mary Lavin's birthday, 10th June, 1912.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October Sunset

This photo was taken on the Navan Athboy road on Friday evening at seven o'clock.  It was too beautiful not to capture.  There's a white horse by the Boyne I saw a couple of mornings going to work but I didn't have the time to stop and take a photo.  I might look for him later.  He looked magical. 
I got a new tattoo yesterday.  It really hurt, at times the pain was burning.  I doubt I'll get another one for a very long time, if ever again.  I'm glad I had it done though.  I'm up this morning working on my assignments.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
William Henry Davies

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Poetry Day

I know it's national poetry day tomorrow but I will be attending my course tomorrow night.  I've had to read about a child development theorist called Urie Bronfenbrenner for tomorrow's class.  He devised a theory called Human Ecology Theory/Ecological Systems Theory which lists 5 systems in which a child may grow and develop, the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem and the chronosystem!  It's been interesting enough stuff. 
This week I've also been working on a short story which is short of 2,500 words.  It's the longest I've ever spent on a story and it may become something longer, for once, which I may even stick with.  Should I start another chapter?  I'm interested to know the story of the characters.  Maybe this course will help me concetrate. 
So for poetry day I am posting a poem by Sylvia Plath, I have to after posting one by Ted Hughes!
Lady Lazarus
I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it-----

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My featureless, fine
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?-------

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.

Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me

And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.

What a million filaments.
The Peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand and foot ------
The big strip tease.
Gentleman , ladies

These are my hands
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.

The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut

As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.

It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:

'A miracle!'
That knocks me out.
There is a charge

For the eyeing my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart---
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair on my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash---
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there----

A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Harvest Moon

The flame-red moon, the harvest moon,
Rolls along the hills, gently bouncing,
A vast balloon,
Till it takes off, and sinks upward
To lie on the bottom of the sky, like a gold doubloon.

The harvest moon has come,
Booming softly through heaven, like a bassoon.
And the earth replies all night, like a deep drum.

So people can't sleep,
So they go out where elms and oak trees keep
A kneeling vigil, in a religious hush.
The harvest moon has come!

And all the moonlit cows and all the sheep
Stare up at her petrified, while she swells
Filling heaven, as if red hot, and sailing
Closer and closer like the end of the world.

Till the gold fields of stiff wheat
Cry `We are ripe, reap us!' and the rivers
Sweat from the melting hills.

Ted Hughes