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Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Way To Work by Tom French


This coming Thursday, 26th May, Tom French will launch his latest poetry collection The Way To Work with guest speaker Peter Fallon. The event will be held in Blackbird Books, Navan at 7.30 p.m.. The following Wednesday, June 1st, Tom will be launching the collection in Hodges Figgis, Dawson Street at 6 p.m. alongside Vona Groake who is launching her Selected Poems. More information from The Gallery Press

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Journey into the Interior



Sometimes it's difficult to settle down and concentrate enough to write. It is like wading through mud to get to that clearing where being is possible. The longer you leave it the harder it is go back. I suppose it's like using a muscle. Sometimes I'm afraid I can't get back to that place, but then I always somehow find my way back.


In the long journey out of the self,
There are many detours, washed-out interrupted raw places
Where the shale slides dangerously
And the back wheels hang almost over the edge
At the sudden veering, the moment of turning.
Better to hug close, wary of rubble and falling stones.
The arroyo cracking the road, the wind-bitten buttes, the canyons,
Creeks swollen in midsummer from the flash-flood roaring into the narrow valley.
Reeds beaten flat by wind and rain,
Grey from the long winter, burnt at the base in late summer.
-- Or the path narrowing,
Winding upward toward the stream with its sharp stones,
The upland of alder and birchtrees,
Through the swamp alive with quicksand,
The way blocked at last by a fallen fir-tree,
The thickets darkening,
The ravines ugly.
 
Theodore Roethe

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Padraic Pearse The Wayfarer



You know I can't let the year go by without becoming more acquainted (I have been one acquainted with the night) with Mr. Pearse. I have an idea for a poem about him or inspired by him. He wrote the poem below on the 3rd of May 1916, just before he was executed.

The Wayfarer

The beauty of the world hath made me sad,
This beauty that will pass;
Sometimes my heart hath shaken with great joy
To see a leaping squirrel in a tree,
Or a red lady-bird upon a stalk,
Or little rabbits in a field at evening,
Lit by a slanting sun,
Or some green hill where shadows drifted by
Some quiet hill where mountainy man hath sown
And soon would reap; near to the gate of Heaven;
Or children with bare feet upon the sands
Of some ebbed sea, or playing on the streets
Of little towns in Connacht,
Things young and happy.
And then my heart hath told me:
These will pass,
Will pass and change, will die and be no more,
Things bright and green, things young and happy;
And I have gone upon my way
Sorrowful.


Monday, May 16, 2016

On the Sea



Sonnet. On The Sea

It keeps eternal whisperings around
Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell
Gluts twice ten thousand caverns, till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.
Often 'tis in such gentle temper found
That scarcely will the very smallest shell
Be mov'd for days from whence it sometime fell,
When last the winds of heaven were unbound.
Oh ye! who have your eye-balls vex'd and tir'd,
Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea;
Oh ye! whose ears are dinn'd with uproar rude,
Or fed too much with cloying melody,--
Sit ye near some old cavern's mouth, and brood
Until ye start, as if the sea-nymphs quir'd!

John Keats

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

An Anthology of Reactions

Image result for to every action there is a reaction



Thanks to Dominic Taylor and John Liddy of The Limerick Writers' Centre  who have taken one of my poems for their forthcoming anthology commemorating the centenary of the 1916 Rising. The book is expected to be launched in the autumn and I look forward to it.
 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Some Quotes from Dante's Inferno and The Divine Comedy



“In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.”  

“The path to paradise begins in hell.”  

“They yearn for what they fear for.”  

“A mighty flame follows a tiny spark.”
 
“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”
 
“Remember tonight... for it is the beginning of always”  
 
“Beauty awakens the soul to act.”  
 
“L'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle.”   (The love that moves the sun and the other stars)

(I think I want a copy of this now)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Little Summer Poem Touching The Subject Of Faith

Image result for the wind as a hand touching a meadow


Little Summer Poem Touching The Subject Of Faith
Every summer
I listen and look
under the sun's brass and even
into the moonlight, but I can't hear

anything, I can't see anything --
not the pale roots digging down, nor the green
stalks muscling up,
nor the leaves
deepening their damp pleats,

nor the tassels making,
nor the shucks, nor the cobs.
And still,
every day,

the leafy fields
grow taller and thicker --
green gowns lofting up in the night,
showered with silk.

And so, every summer,
I fail as a witness, seeing nothing --
I am deaf too
to the tick of the leaves,

the tapping of downwardness from the banyan feet --
all of it
happening
beyond any seeable proof, or hearable hum.

And, therefore, let the immeasurable come.
Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine.
Let the wind turn in the trees,
and the mystery hidden in the dirt

swing through the air.
How could I look at anything in this world
and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart?
What should I fear?

One morning
in the leafy green ocean
the honeycomb of the corn's beautiful body
is sure to be there.
Mary Oliver

Monday, May 2, 2016

As I Walked Out One Evening



As I Walked Out One Evening


W. H. Auden, 1907 - 1973

As I walked out one evening,
   Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
   Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
   I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
   ‘Love has no ending.

‘I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
   Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
   And the salmon sing in the street,

‘I’ll love you till the ocean
   Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
   Like geese about the sky.

‘The years shall run like rabbits,
   For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
   And the first love of the world.'

But all the clocks in the city
   Began to whirr and chime:
‘O let not Time deceive you,
   You cannot conquer Time.

‘In the burrows of the Nightmare
   Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
   And coughs when you would kiss.

‘In headaches and in worry
   Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
   To-morrow or to-day.

‘Into many a green valley
   Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
   And the diver’s brilliant bow.

‘O plunge your hands in water,
   Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
   And wonder what you’ve missed.

‘The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
   The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
   A lane to the land of the dead.

‘Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
   And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
   And Jill goes down on her back.

‘O look, look in the mirror,
   O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
   Although you cannot bless.

‘O stand, stand at the window
   As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
   With your crooked heart.'

It was late, late in the evening,
   The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
   And the deep river ran on.