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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood, excerpt

Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

by William Wordsworth

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, 
The earth, and every common sight
                 To me did seem
            Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;--
             Turn wheresoe'er I may,
              By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

            The rainbow comes and goes, 
            And lovely is the rose; 
            The moon doth with delight
     Look round her when the heavens are bare;
            Waters on a starry night
            Are beautiful and fair;
     The sunshine is a glorious birth;
     But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

Monday, June 24, 2013

"The human being is a possibility" - Merab Mamardashvili

Now I'm really getting into the swing of my last assignment and it's really exciting when one begins to understand deeply and put ideas together.  It's just the same as pieces of a jigsaw falling into place and it's almost as exciting as when a poem comes together or a short story (I must try and get that feeling back soon).

Now there was this theorist called Lev Vygotsky and he had some thrilling ideas.  He said that thought is internalised language.  Children often provide a running commentary on what they are doing.  This is called an external monologue and as time passes and the child develops this monologue becomes internalised.  (Next time you are talking out loud to yourself remember this) So if a child's thought is dependent on language then it is of great importance to facilitate a rich linguistic environment.  This is awesome stuff.  Oh and he also said we have cultural tools, symbolic systems we use to analyse reality and they are signs, symbols, maps, plans, numbers, musical notation, charts, pictures and language. (Dolya, 2010) I think I'm floating in space.   
But not to get carried away.  I must stick to the question and ensure that I'm answering what I'm asked, what is my own philosophy and key influences to practice?
And then I still have to write about how constructions of childhood have changed through time.  Did you kow that in Medieval times children were considered small adults?  There's the industrial revolution and child labour, are children inherently evil (Judaeo-Christian Adam and Eve, and Wesley) or inherently good? (Rousseau and the Enlightenment, 18th c.)  These are two discourses of childhood. 
And in the end our attitudes to childhood are socially constructed.  That is, we construct things that we try to make meaning of.  (Roche & Tucker, 2001)  I think that's maybe enough for tonight.  I'll be up early in the morning and nearly there then, I hope!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


the bluebird

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I’m not going
to let anybody see
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
in there.
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
you want to blow my book sales in
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody’s asleep.
I say, I know that you’re there,
so don’t be sad.
then I put him back,
but he’s still singing a little
in there, I haven’t quite let him
and we sleep together like
with our
secret pact
and it’s nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don’t
weep, do

Charles Bukowski

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Beach Birth

During the week I heard on the radio about the whales who became stranded on Laytown Beach and Mornington Beach:
I always think that being beached is so incredibly tragic for these creatures.  It reminded me of a poem I wrote about dolphins.  I've looked for the poem and it was published in The Meath Chronicle in May 2002.  So yes, here's one of mine from the archives...

Beach Birth

Across the television screen the young reporter tells me
That over a hundred dolphins were beached today
On the stony, grey shore of Brittany.
Men in waterproof clothing help the creatures to water,
Like Arion they remember the debt they must pay
To this silver-backed sea-daughter
Trembling and thrashing now against the hard earth.

There must be a curse on the ocean, an ill wind of some sort
To drive the beautiful to disaster,
To take its own pride in natural cull.
There is little hope for the school according to this report;
The inward current is stronger and faster
Than a dolphin's swimming urge and skill.
Bottle-nosed and floundering they lie.

Their streamlined skin is no addition now,
Glittering and silky in the murky sand,
Soon to become coarse and dry like the ear of a sow.
High pitched screams fall tragically on the deaf land,
Heard only by the devil and the deep blue sea.
This is not an image to comfort any soul;
A listless, bloody dolphin's eye.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kell's Hay Festival 28th-30th June

John Banville

If you can get to this festival then go!  Thanks to Eamon Cooke from The Boyne Writers' Group for passing on information about it.  I've booked a ticket to hear Jeanette Winterson on the Friday and I'd love to hear John Banville but I will be away on the Saturday.  The programme can be downloaded from the festival website



Our newest chapter is in Kells in County Meath, Ireland, 28–30 June 2013

Programme highlights include novelists John Boyne, DBC Pierre, John Banville, Tiffany Murray; poets Owen Sheers, Nerys Williams, Eurig Salisbury; memoirs from Jeanette Winterson; children's writers Jenny Valentine, Sarah Webb; playwright Frank McGuinness; actors Peter Sheridan, Lisa Dwan; a film animating The Secret of Kells; academics Germaine Greer on Shakespeare and Dr Bernard Meehan on the Book of Kells®; politician Jesse Norman on Burke; and musician Alex Valentine.
Kells & District Chamber, working with a number of partners, hope to develop an Irish 'town of books' as a national centre for all genres of literature. The Hay Festival will bring together the best Irish and international authors and thinkers to celebrate the sharing of stories and ideas.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ireland with Emily

After googling and reading many poems about childhood, I googled poems about June and found this!!

Ireland with Emily

by John Betjeman

Bells are booming down the bohreens,
White the mist along the grass,
Now the Julias, Maeves and Maureens
Move between the fields to Mass.
Twisted trees of small green apple
Guard the decent whitewashed chapel,
Gilded gates and doorway grained,
Pointed windows richly stained
With many-coloured Munich glass.

See the black-shawled congregations
On the broidered vestment gaze
Murmer past the painted stations
As Thy Sacred Heart displays
Lush Kildare of scented meadows,
Roscommon, thin in ash-tree shadows,
And Westmeath the lake-reflected,
Spreading Leix the hill-protected,
Kneeling all in silver haze?

In yews and woodbine, walls and guelder,
Nettle-deep the faithful rest,
Winding leagues of flowering elder,
Sycamore with ivy dressed,
Ruins in demesnes deserted,
Bog-surrounded bramble-skirted -
Townlands rich or townlands mean as
These, oh, counties of them screen us
In the Kingdom of the West.

Stony seaboard, far and foreign,
Stony hills poured over space,
Stony outcrop of the Burren,
Stones in every fertile place,
Little fields with boulders dotted,
Grey-stone shoulders saffron-spotted,
Stone-walled cabins thatched with reeds,
Where a Stone Age people breeds
The last of Europe's stone age race.

Has it held, the warm June weather?
Draining shallow sea-pools dry,
When we bicycled together
Down the bohreens fuchsia-high.
Till there rose, abrupt and lonely,
A ruined abbey, chancel only,
Lichen-crusted, time-befriended,
Soared the arches, splayed and splendid,
Romanesque against the sky.

There in pinnacled protection,
One extinguished family waits
A Church of Ireland resurrection
By the broken, rusty gates.
Sheepswool, straw and droppings cover,
Graves of spinster, rake and lover,
Whose fantastic mausoleum,
Sings its own seablown Te Deum,
In and out the slipping slates.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Back to basics

I'm back and starting to write again.  I have only one more assignment to write of 1400 words which I may start after writing this blog.  It has been a tough year but it was necessary for me to go back to study.  This is especially evident in the aftermath of the Primetime, A Breach of Trust expose a few weeks ago.  Working in early years care and education is a bit like being caught up in a whirlwind lately. I've studied Aistear (The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework) a lot but my favourite assignments of the year were on the debate about Nature vs. Nurture, Genes vs. Environment and the role of gender in play.  On a positive note I've been complimented by tutors on how well I write. Yea thanks.  Next on the agenda is describing and analysing my own philosophy of ECCE and key influences to my practice and examining changing constructions of childhood that have evolved through time.  That should be interesting. 
I've been dipping in and out of John Banville's Ancient Light.  It's really good.  Niamh Boyce's The Herbalist is beckoning.  Kate Dempsey will be guest editor for Boyne Berries 14 so that will be intriguing! I'm also looking forward to reading a pdf. of Abridged Lockjaw.