Artist

Alexander Averin

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Artist Unknown






Painting on My Bedroom Wall



Artist unknown; the painting has everything:
A back view so all might be imagined
but may never be revealed, a tableau
of mystery, misty, somewhat muted.
There is soft light, a  plea for gentleness,
scented roses, a bedside book and candle.
Set by an ancient window, muslin-dressed
in lily-white, a simple wooden bed,
patchwork-quilted, soft and silken-pillowed.
I spy perhaps my own child-self dressed in
lace and Irish linen, her hair loose and
long and wayward in its curl, a tortoiseshell
cat close by, her one familiar.
Is she pondering, is she sad or is
she all a-wonder? I do not know for
her thoughts and face are hidden, even the
beauty of her downturned face can barely
be recalled to mind, the dewiness once
contained within is now unrecognised
but surely she has learned that there is comfort
to be found at every fall of day
and hope at every day’s beginning.



Cait O’Connor



Does anyone recognise this picture? Can anyone tell me the painter’s name? I cannot make out the name on the print which I bought very cheaply from an Oxfam shop.  I fell in love with it at first sight.



Friday, 18 July 2014

Ants






We are but ants


Lay out your false gods in  neat rows; start with
greed for  money, power and celebrity.
Shatter them to smithereens and then
instead revere the glory found  in love, the
nature of the Earth and the wide Universe.
True power lies in Nature and a beauty
of design which we can just aspire to,
try to re-create as art but not invent again.
We are but ants and tiny in the scheme
of things; just a part, a section of a whole
and very far apart from whence we came.
Small, solitary, humble, we gaze up
at skies in wonderment, dreaming of a
purpose to life that we can’t yet comprehend.



Cait O’Connor


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Karma








Karma



She climbed.
By a series of degrees, karma-driven, 
her  life was destined to be a rough and tough
ascent. It was hard, lurid, scuffed and careworn 
from the start and she had lived it on the edge.
Not one to push herself or ever let 
herself be pushed, she knew not how, or had 
the cause to fly.  Agéd now and scared to 
die alone, her longings are like dreams whose
intensity is strong but like her fateful
journey are too high-coloured, dramatic,
overstated in their indemnity.



Cait O’Connor





This is a Magpie Tale, read more here.



Peace




There is no road towards peace; peace is the road   

Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Recommended Blog Post





Occasionally I like to recommend a particular blog post that has touched me in some way.

This is one such post.

There are swear words, you have been warned.  I think if I had written it there would be swear words too.

The blog is Frugal Queen,  here is the link

Sunday, 29 June 2014

A Game of Patience






A Game of Patience, 1937, Meredith Frampton




Dressed in blue-stocking grey, to match the sharpness 
of her intellect, Margaret Austin-Jones 
sits alone in solitary pursuit. 
Her eyes deep hazel, her hair sweet chestnut, 
crimped in waves so neat and precise they match her
manner and the cut of her dress, (modern, 
Vogue-patterned, made for her with care).
Although she's up-to-date, she is but
young and wise in every way but love.
Like Eve she yearns too much for life, desires
to taste the apple, touch  the texture of 
the ears of corn, impatient for the blood- 
red buds to bloom. She hears a footfall on 
the stair, her heartbeat pounds, she glances at
the door.  Like a scene from a novel, in
a room with a view, the dramatic part 
has come; she has played a patient game of 
waiting for a suitor to appear, has 
craved and dreamed herself a handsome, kindly
knave but little knows she may have drawn instead
a darkly evil, scheming, King of Spades.



Cait O’Connor




This is Sunday's Magpie Tale, read others here


Friday, 27 June 2014

Collapse of Capitalism




Owners of capital will stimulate the working class to buy more and more of expensive goods, houses and technology, pushing them to take more and more expensive credits, until their debt becomes unbearable. The unpaid debt will lead to bankruptcy of banks, which will have to be nationalized, and the State will have to take the road which will eventually lead to communism.

Karl Marx, 1867, Das Kapital



Collapse of Capitalism


As Marx foretold to us, the cake is shrinking,
the ship is sinking,  the rodents have come
to the fore, the fat cats feast upon our
shores, feuding and fighting amongst themselves.
The vulnerable seem to be subdued,
repressed, dismissed, their lifelines cast  aloft
into some briny deep along with truth
and trust, care and humankind’s compassion.
Only the slightest shreds of verity
remain, almost entirely covered now
by lies and spin as the cake reduces.
The poorest, the meek, the sick and the weak,
the greens and the peacemakers, once were blessed
but are now portrayed as fools or traitors,
burdens or charlatans, benefit scroungers.
The rodent-rich, much richer than before,
step upon the enslaved and the ignorant,
laughing at them as they do, with barely
hidden arrogance, while gnawing at their bones.


Cait O’Connor



Sunday, 22 June 2014

Avatar


 Sweet Summer 1912 John William Waterhouse




Avatar.  Hinduism.  A manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth; an incarnate divine teacher.


Avatar


No more the crone, she lies alone, basking
in a perpetual summer; soaking
in the sweetness of the scent of roses
and the sleekness of her grey silk clinging.
A sash of russet tied around her waist,
breast-bared and cooling in the sultry heat,
just the sounds of birds and water singing.
This is her one true dream, her avatar.
At peace, restored, her beauty everlasting,
no more the victim, no more the doom, no
more the dread, a victim of life’s vagaries.
She lies, she sleeps, completely lost in love
and dreams of just its pleasing fripperies,
no need for knights in gleaming armouries
to save her from herself.  Her self is free,
and flying now, somewhere high above, it
floats at whim and far away from all the
suffering of life and its mendacities
.


Cait O’Connor




This is my latest Magpie Tale, more can be read here



Sunday, 15 June 2014

Not To Be Reproduced





Rene Magritte 1937




Not To Be Reproduced


Like Plath, I too often mused on mirrors,
Like Alice, I  wandered  from Wonderland
into a looking-glass world of magic.
I came upon an image, surreal,
an enigma framed in gilt, dressed in brown.
Here was a man too neat, too still, but with
silken hair inclined to curl . Upon the
mantel I spied a book and felt it was
like him, adventurous of mind, well worn,
a much loved mystery and better written
in the finest French. Gazing, tuning in,
I sensed another poet-soul, a dreamer,
self effacing, illuminated always
from behind but  hiding his reflections
except in unleashed poems on the page.



Cait O’Connor





This is for Magpie Tales, more can be found here


Friday, 13 June 2014

Monday, 9 June 2014

Sean Scully



Just because I love it.



Saturday, 7 June 2014

Dumbing Down Century



Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.

Albert Einstein



Dumbing Down Century


Perfect pout and pristine pearly white veneers,
plumped lips painted with iridescent ruby
juice, her medication’s taken capsulised
in luscious (chemical) lemon flavour.
Kept tranquillised and dumbed down daily, her
development is arrested, she is
lacking a  proper education.  Licked
into shape, stuffed with  useless knowledge which
she must regurgitate on the command
in the exam room (aka factory for failures).
The media and government spoon feeds  sweet
snippets of only what she needs to know,
(lies or truth, who cares?).  They will preach, harangue,
sermonise; indoctrinate and moralise;
obliterate originality,
anaesthetise her imagination
paralyse her inborn creativity.



Cait O’Connor



Latest Magpie Tale, more here


Friday, 30 May 2014

Restoration







Restoration


Having had a rootless  life,  too often
lived at random, he scrabbles where he can,
for curios, bibelos and  trinkets.
He roots amongst  bric a brac, seeking out
objets d’art, finding beauty amongst junk.
His car, his home, his clothes, his rescued dog,
even his childhood’s  memories, all are
second hand.  Practical, adaptable,
he has learned to scatter fairy dust and
turn trash into treasure.

He spied an ancient  dulcimer hiding
shyly, amongst the bespoke furniture,
A rare musical instrument,  shapely
and sexy, past it now but with youthful
and endearing charm.  He will tune it, feed
it on beeswax and restore it with his
gentle  touch so it it will become transformed,
until, like all he gathers  around him,
it will become serenely  harmonised,
mellow and tempered totally  with love.


Cait O’Connor


Latest  Magpie Tale, more here.




Wednesday, 28 May 2014

RIP Maya Angelou



Only love will set us free.




RIP Maya, with the angels now.


Touched by an Angel

 
We, unaccustomed to courage,
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies,
old memories of pleasure,
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave.
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

Maya Angelou

Monday, 26 May 2014

Sentenced to Life


Once, I would not have noticed; nor have known the name for Japanese anemones, so pale, so frail. But now I catch the tone of leaves. No birds can touch down in the trees without my seeing them.
I count the bees.

This morning I heard James Naughtie read the poem Sentenced to Life on the Radio 4 Today programme and it moved me to tears, it was read so well and the words....... well the words speak for themselves.  The poet is the great Clive James.

I don't always enjoy poems being read aloud, I know a lot of folk prefer it but I nearly always like to read them aloud myself in my own head but in this case there was some kind of magic afoot as I listened while washing the breakfast dishes at the kitchen sink.

Here it is:

Sentenced to Life

Sentenced to life, I sleep face-up as though
Ice-bound, lest I should cough the night away,
And when I walk the mile to town, I show
The right technique for wading through deep clay.
A sad man, sorrier than he can say.

But surely not so guilty he should die
Each day from knowing that his race is run:
My sin was to be faithless. I would lie
As if I could be true to everyone
At once, and all the damage that was done

Was in the name of love, or so I thought.
I might have met my death believing this,
But no, there was a lesson to be taught.
Now, not just old, but ill, with much amiss,
I see things with a whole new emphasis.

My daughter’s garden has a goldfish pool
With six fish, each a little finger long.
I stand and watch them following their rule
Of never touching, never going wrong:
Trajectories as perfect as plain song.

Once, I would not have noticed; nor have known
The name for Japanese anemones,
So pale, so frail. But now I catch the tone
Of leaves. No birds can touch down in the trees
Without my seeing them. I count the bees.

Even my memories are clearly seen:
Whence comes the answer if I’m told I must
Be aching for my homeland. Had I been
Dulled in the brain to match my lungs of dust
There’d be no recollection I could trust.

Yet I, despite my guilt, despite my grief,
Watch the Pacific sunset, heaven sent,
In glowing colours and in sharp relief,
Painting the white clouds when the day is spent,
As if it were my will and testament –

As if my first impressions were my last,
And time had only made them more defined,
Now I am weak. The sky is overcast
Here in the English autumn, but my mind
Basks in the light I never left behind.


Clive James


There will be an interview with Clive James on the programme tomorrow, I look forward to that.





Sunday, 25 May 2014

Coffee Talk



This is another take on the picture below, not my work but I liked it and wanted to share with you.



Coffee Talk (a poem)


Plain people
In their tailored suits
And perfectly polished dress shoes,
They tap manicured fingers
While waiting for stiff drinks
And wonder what poets across the room
talk about over the messy edges of café tables,
Toppling bottles of half-drank wine,
And the coffee-stained pages
We exchange as if sharing secrets:
That an unleashed mind is a happy life,
How the whole world spins,
A shedding wilderness of words
From a vortex in the frontal lobes
Of our dishevelled brains, so full
Of good films and literary autobiographies
That there’s no time left to lend to reality TV,
How fluid the body is when words
Become art and the pen fills the skin,
How sustainable love lives when veiled
In the expression of shameless creation.,
How strong the pull of death
Into so many notebooks,
Brash handwriting of well-lived moments,
The grand metamorphosis immortalized.
How meaningful the lonely moments
Of this night can stretch themselves
Into the star shine of a haiku or soliloquy,
Ink-covered hands and blood-shot eyes
Crossing themselves like prayers across
First drafts and pages full of paragraphs,
my crusted coffee cups spent of words,
Those blue, curvy mamas who open
morning windows and warm my wintered hands.


 Stacy Lyn Mar


Written for a prompt at Magpie Tales.



Sunday, 18 May 2014

New York, 1922






New York 1922



It was the noon hour, the time for protection.
I was wearing my favourite apricot 
cloche hat, everything seemed just perfect; 
it was all about the light.  The light and 
the moment the light shone upon were both
golden, so all about me was glamour,
jewel-like, atmospheric, their colours 
matching my Parisien hat and my mood. 
I did not know that my image was being 
captured; I would  have protested but to 
be painted thus did thrill and move me in 
an equal measure. On that day in New
York in 1922, when he and
I took tea together, we became as
one, isolated in our togetherness.
The crowd receded and time paused for me,
so that in its stillness I could no longer
fear my past or worry for my future.
I knew somehow, from that  golden day on,
there was only ever going to be the now.



Cait O’Connor


This week's Magpie Tale.  See more here.

The fine painting is by Edward Hopper.


Sunday, 11 May 2014

My Dream





My Dream


This is my dream now.
I can now escape night terrors and the Dali dream which was delirium.
I am single-handed, yet feeling closely-held and not forsaken.
Out, out into the thistledown, featherlight and floating,
I am carried on Etesian winds;
caressed by raindrops, watched  over by angels.
I can see a rainbow but now in fade-out
I am seen in sweet sepia, softly sleeping.
I am unique and special, solitary but safe.
I am high-flown now, carried away like a poem.
I fly below doves, follow in the wake of clouds
and nothing can stop me.
I am to be cherished forever.
This my dream now.



Cait O’Connor





This is written as a response to another Magpie Tale. Read more here
(The photographer is Martin Stranka.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Friday Musings





A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. 

Oscar Wilde

I am starting a collection of my favourite 'back view' paintings or photographs. This is my first.  It is by Andrew Wyeth who painted quite a lot of back views.  I agree it is not strictly a 'full body' back view but the head is turned.  Do send me your favourites if you have any.



Dear Diary,

Just a poem, a picture, a quote and a piece of music from me today.

The poem I should perhaps be writing for Magpie Tales just won't come.  Apart from being under the weather at the moment I have never been a fan of Salvador Dali and feel only bad vibes when I look at his work, so instead I am going to post a poem which landed in my Inbox recently.  It is by a Vietnamese poet and has inspired me to write on a different subject which can't be a bad thing.  It is a sad piece but I hope you like it as much as I do.


Burial


There is the rain, the odour of fresh earth, 
and you, grandmother, in a box.
I bury the distance, twenty-two years 
of not meeting you
and your ruined hands.
I bury your hair, parted to the side and pinned back,
your áo dài of crushed velvet,
the implements you used to farm,
the stroke which claimed your right side,
the land you gave up when you remarried,
your grief over my grandfather's passing,
the war that evaporated your father's leg,
the war that crushed your bowls,
your childhood home razed
by the rutted wheels of an American tank—
I bury it all.
You learned that nothing stays in this life,
 not your daughter, not your uncle,
 not even the dignity of leaving this world
with your pants on. The bed sores on your hips
were clean and sunken in. What did I know, child
who heard you speak only once,
and when we met for the first time,
tears watered the side of your face.
I held your hand and said,
bà ngoai, bà ngoai
Ten years later, I returned.
 It rained on your gravesite.
 In the picture above your tomb,
you looked just like my mother.
We lit the joss sticks and planted them.
We kept the encroaching grass at bay.


Cathy Linh Che


And the music, Night Sky  from Paolo Nutini, with text below on which the song is based.






The Great Dictator's Speech from the film of the same name. Charlie Chaplin played the Jewish barber in the film,

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone - if possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness - not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost....

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men - cries out for universal brotherhood - for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world - millions of despairing men, women, and little children - victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say - do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. .....

Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes - men who despise you - enslave you - who regiment your lives - tell you what to do - what to think and what to feel! Who drill you - diet you - treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world - to do away with national barriers - to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!






Thursday, 1 May 2014

A Room of Her Own






A Room of Her Own


Would-be poet,  would be writer-woman
whose tales must not be sepia, black and
white or second-rate. Her needs are few: warmth
quiet and sweet solitude. Candles, a
notebook and pen, a place for her wolfhound
friend, who is squashy, soft and nearly as
long as the sofa she dreams and schemes upon.
She will confide in him, he reads her mind
and loves her in return. From an ancient
attic room, an eyrie under the beams,
only colourful words are created,
poems fly out of the ether, stories
descend upon her through the skylight.
When times are hard she gazes at the booklined
walls which set the would-be woman-writer’s bar.



Cait O’Connor


(It's Magpie Tale time again, read more here).




Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Red, Blue, Green, Yellow



Why do two colours, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No. Just as one can never learn how to paint.
Pablo Picasso







Red, Blue, Green, Yellow


Paintings are a dream, more than just colours:
red, blue, green, yellow.
Books are an experience, more than paper and ink.
Some folk can taste the shapes of the  letters,
touch the sounds of the storyteller’s voice,
and can even smell the words on the page.
Music is a language, more than the food of love,
more than sound, we feel it somewhere down deep.
Someone said, play the notes and listen hard;
D flat is deep plum, Middle C sapphire blue.
Some folk play inner chords in the key of
silence, dreaming their own private rainbows,
whose palette’s intensity is quiet,
always muted, not florid, lurid or loud.
Some spend their whole lives under the water,
blindfold, deaf and dumb.
Some see coloured auras others cannot see,
hear voices from another place and time,
but  keep all their inner secrets silent.
Some babies born from the Light, in colours
soft, quiet and under-stated, soon blossom
into brilliance, in tune with memories
of Spirit’s dazzling primary colours:
red, blue, green and yellow.



Cait O’Connor



Saturday, 26 April 2014

Moments







A Pose, Caught in a Moment

Taken through the kitchen window while I was eating my breakfast this morning




Moments


What are moments for?
Moments: over and over they come, they 
haunt us, we wait for them, race through them,
speak of them and waste far too many 
at our peril. We should treat each one as 
special and seize them, not speed them on their way.
Some hours we set apart, planning to be 
happy in. But all moments are Earth’s murmurs 
to be merry and be dreamy  in 
to be forever joyful, never mournful.
What can we live within but hours and minutes, 
days and years? We must still extract each moment,
sense each one and mould it, stretch it out to 
fit us. What form are they, these fragile fragments
of our lives, are they diamonds, squares or circles?
What shape is time? Where does it go? An answer 
to those questions would bring God and all the
angels to claim us, flying over the
fields to carry us away on the wind
and in the briefest of moments we would
be gone.........




Cait O’Connor

(Apologies to Philip Larkin)


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Musings





Finland 1968




Easter Musings 2014


I prefer back views, they leave much to the
imagination; we can only dream what
their expressions were on that hopeful day
back in the sixties when you and I were
not yet born, nor even dreamed of in some
fashion.  Our souls did not exist on Earth,
knew nothing of the storms that might one day
befall us on such a seemingly timeless,
future springtime day.  Now, in the noughties ,
very much alive, we can’t ignore the
bleak precipitations but we huddle
beside the grey and uni-coloured folk
beneath the darkened silvery birches
under umbrellas together.  Sometimes
all we can do is unleash balloons in
colours of the rainbow to be a kind
of  sixties prayer, a plea for comradeship and peace
for all the peoples of the world to see.



Cait O’Connor



This is another Magpie Tale.
Other can be found here

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Self-Portrait



The King of Cats, 1935, Balthus 


This is a self-portrait of me with my human, Balthus the artist, you may have heard of him though he is something of a recluse, he prefers painting to almost anything else and likes to be perceived as an enigma. He is an intovert, occasionally visited by poets, writers, painters too but no other cats are ever allowed over our threshold. 

I am the King of Cats as you can probably tell from my proud bearing, size and strength.  I am known as H.M. or King for short.  It was very good of Balthus to do this painting of me and because of his supposed talent with the brush I condescendingly allowed him to be in it. He does in fact try and make out I painted it, (I ask you, who would believe that cats can hold a paintbrush?).  He tried to take over the image somewhat but my beauty and regal bearing reign supreme.   I don’t think much of his outfit but he has a uniquely odd dress sense.  I think his legs look overlong in this picture and he seems somewhat out of proportion but that may be intended, you know what these artists are like, (what do you think?).  

I am Balthus’s guardian of being (this phrase is very ‘in’ at the moment so I thought I would throw it in). Without me he would be a nervous wreck but he has learned to watch me and tries to be like me; spiritual and soulful but with an independent streak.

I shall leave you with a poem, just to prove that Balthus is not the only artistic one in this family. 


My Self-Portrait by Balthus


Lithe and long of limb, eyes as wide as his ego,
hair as dark as his imagination.
Dressed in his best, as familiars go,
Balthus is a superior specimen but
he has to be to match my royal bearing.

I allowed him to be in my self-portrait
but he tries to hog the frame, centre stage.
He presents me rubbing up his leg in
hero-worship mode;  (if he only knew, 
it is not about affection, just a 
hunger for fish). 


Cait O’Connor
aka HM King of Cats



(Another Magpie Tale exercise).











Blood Red Moon


My Last Night's Moon pics are below but

Tonight is special......

The April 15th, 2014 Full Moon is also a total lunar eclipse, hence the name Blood Red Moon.  In North and South America and a few other places in the Pacific region this eclipse will last just over an hour and a half. Which will make for an amazing star gazing experience.

The Blood Moon has always been a symbol of great change or big events coming in the near future. With this being a full total lunar eclipse the power behind the significance of this moon is of course astronomical.

This is a time when the Earth, Sun, and Moon will align and when that happens it is believed that a gateway to the stars, to heaven, is opened and we are then able to speak with those not only in the spirit world but other dimensions.

This lunar eclipse can be viewed with your telescope and even the naked eye. It is not like having a solar eclipse of the sun.

Ref.













Monday, 7 April 2014

The Palm Reader


For Magpie Tales.







The Palm Reader


I crept in showing sunken palms, chasms of
no confidence, a failing in my hands
for all to see, a map of lines I had  
worn lifelong and an eager, far
too trusting, sympathetic, ailing heart.
She swept in on an air of frankincense
and cedar, her aura rainbowed, sparkling
silver and gypsy gold with a tourmaline
ring hung on red- ribboned silk, for she dowsed,
read leaves,clouds, water and a crystal ball.
She saw weird shapes in dripping, melting wax,
all yielded secrets to her as she scryed.
She said I had a Water hand, (intuitive,
compassionate but gullible and too
unworldly for this tainted planet Earth).
A heart line deeply curvy (I did like
the sound of that) but I was without any
minor lines (well none to speak of). No crosses
or triangles, no sign of little squares.
But then she found the writer’s fork (quite rare)
which showed a poet's soul (kind, true, sensitive).
When I reached home elated, I created
a bouquet for her of words, as we poets love to do
for when we’d bidden our farewells I’d seen
deep into her psychic eyes and had no
doubt that I  had left with her the knowledge
of my very secret ‘poet’s life’ of dreams.



Cait O’Connor





Friday, 4 April 2014

All about writing






.


I read in the Indie  that it is Maya Angelou’s birthday today.   Very many happy returns Maya.

Something arrived on my Facebook page yesterday about the writing rituals of some well known writers. This was Maya’s entry:

Most writers can’t afford to check into a hotel when the urge to scribble hits, but for Angelou, it’s the key to great writing. In the wee hours of the morning she’ll book herself a room with a special request: all distracting wall décor must vanish. Armed with a bottle of sherry, a deck of cards, some legal pads, a thesaurus and the Bible, she’s spent hours crafting prose in this carefully constructed environment stripped of almost all inspiration

I love to have the thesaurus close by but haven't resorted to sherry yet.

Talking of writing and rituals, the writer Nina Milton has invited me to join the BLOG TOUR which is travelling around Blogland at some speed at the moment. Nina was invited by the writer Jackie Biggs whose blog is here.  You can read Nina Milton’s s entry at her blog Kitchen Table Writers.  Nina is a published author who has written for children, she has also written short stories and of late she writes exciting crime fiction.  She was my wonderful tutor on two creative writing courses which I did some years ago with the Open College of the Arts and I shall be forever grateful to her for her excellent advice.  I still think of her when I am tempted to use too many words or slip in a cliche!  I wish I could afford to do some more courses with the OCA; I can recommend them highly.

Anyway, the writers' TOUR involves answering these four questions and then nominating one or two other writers to do the same.


1. What am I working on?

2. How does my work differ?

3. Why do I write?

4.  How does my process of writing work?

     So here are my answers.





1.  What am I working on?

Unlike most of these ‘blog tourists’ I am not a professional writer or published author, I am just a blogger.  I have never submitted anything  in the hope of getting it published.  I have entered poems into local Eisteddfodds and won prizes and I did win one prize in a writing competition, the only competition I have ever entered!

I have been blogging for seven years now and I amaze even myself as I don’t think I have ever kept up with anything for so long  before.  It started life quite by chance as a sort of nature diary which I entered into a Country Living magazine competition and (coincidentally) Nina Milton encouraged me to continue it;  I did so and it sort of grew into a blog.

The joys of blogging and reading others’ blogs have been many and are continuing.  I have met and am still meeting many inspirational and likeminded folk from all over the world.

My other passion of late is photography and I have a blog for some of my photos here.  I am planning to put words to some of my own images, I am quite excited about that.

Funny how things turn out.


I mainly write poems;  I have a huge collection which is growing all the time and I am also writing a story in novel form based on my own and my mother’s life as there is quite a tale there to tell.  It has been an ongoing project for too long but I am determined to move it on somewhat this year. I have also written a sort of nature journal, a kind of meditative piece  which is almost ready. Ready for what I don’t know.

2.  How does my work differ?

Not quite sure how to answer that.

If a writer is to succeed they should have their own original voice which speaks from the heart and I am striving to find my own.


3. Why do I write? 





I have had a passion for the written word since I was a child.  I live and breathe books and have just retired from my (perfect) job as a librarian.  When I was quite young I used to fill exercise books with my stories of adventure. If I wasn’t reading I would write, both were my favourite forms of much-needed escapism.  As I grew older I started to write poems and that is what I concentrate on now.

(I am cheating in this next bit).

I have dug out something written a few years ago.  Nothing has changed.


Why I Write

I don’t write for you,  I write for me.

I write for you, I don’t write for me.

For whom do I write?

I write because I have to.  I am always writing in my head.  I write in bed. I write at dawn.  I write in the mists of sleep.  I write in the middle of the night in the dark when my pen makes squiggles that I hope to be able to read in the morning. Too often the words next day are illegible or just some kind of gobbledy-gook; phrases that in the night seemed to be some kind of inspired genius but in the morning present themselves as the ramblings of a madwoman.  I write all day in my head.  I write in a flash of inspiration.

I can write if there is a deadline but I don’t really like to write to order.  I write in draft by hand.  I write letters and emails in my head.  I love to write in notebooks colourfully pleasing to my eye,  I have a collection of these waiting to be filled, all picked up on my travels.  I  write on little scraps of paper because I can never find said notebooks when ideas come to me . I don’t write often enough when I am out on walks with the dogs because I nearly always forget my wee ‘walking’ notebook.  I keep a notebook in the car which is a bit of a problem if I am driving.  I don’t write in the shower because I can’t can I?  Too wet. It is however the place where so many ideas come to me in a flash. From where do they come?  I think it is something to do with the running water, its elemental energies being associated with feelings and inspiration.

I do  quite often write when angry and the need to communicate my feelings is intense.

I write for enjoyment, especially this blog.

I probably write for therapy.

I write rather than speak.

I write my life.



4.  How does my process of writing work?

I dream a lot.

This would be my dream home and writing location in the west of Ireland.  I actually live in mid- Wales which is beautiful but is not my spiritual home.





I am lucky in that I live in a most beautiful part of mid-Wales so inspiration is not hard to seek out. It would be very strange not to be inspired artistically in some way by living here.  As I am not a ‘professional’ writer I am very lucky as I can and do write whatever I like and whenever the mood takes me and I don’t have to keep to any deadlines.

I get flashes;  lines and phrases will come to me, or I may see visions that move me.  I may hear something. I collect words that appeal to me and also ideas.   I scribble by hand and then type up and edit on the computer (that is the fun part).  A poem is put to rest and then brought out daily and (usually) edited many times before it is finished.  And like Valery I don’t think a poem is ever finished, I am never satisfied that it can’t be improved upon.

I have a little room upstairs in my tiny cottage which I have given the grand name ‘the study’. It is open to the stairs and is not that peaceful as I can hear the television downstairs if it is switched on. I often put headphones on and listen to music while writing; I have many songs on Spotify and enjoy shuffling through its library. I sit at the computer and look out at my garden which at the moment is filled with daffodils and primroses. A river flows through it and our field is beyond. I am so lucky to live here in this old blacksmith’s cottage, how could I not be inspired to write?

I hope you have enjoyed reading my attempts at the four questions.  I would like to nominate some ‘proper’ writers to take this tour and I shall get back to you with their names once I have their agreement.

Watch this space!

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,
Cait.


P.S.














Monday, 31 March 2014

Jigsaw






Jigsaw



Model legs, blood red shoes, spider-web tattoos, 
clothes patchy, motley and so much like her
life, a jigsaw of  unlinkable pieces.
To escape her incompleteness, she hides
her tears and becomes unreachable; like 
a butterfly she flits from bloom to doom.
By night she stares  at stars, dreams of angels 
and follows the footprints of stiletto moons.
By day she whittles all the wooden fragments, 
brightens, lacquers, polishes them all
till they look tempered, calm and harmonized
to hide the tangle, twist and snarl that lurks within.



Cait O’Connor


Magpie Tale time again (more here).

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Mothers Day



Pablo Picasso 1922


On a day when we are supposed to think fondly of our mothers (though I do so every day) this poem is not a new one but I post it again for all mothers who have been forced to be parted from their children and for all children who have been parted from their mothers, for whatever reason. (I am the baby in this poem, not the mother). 



Mothers Day


On a silent, irridescent, cobweb morning 
I laid my indigo baby in a
cradle of crystal, her wrap was pure love,
intractable and true, like her beauty.
Be under no illusion, she was born 
from an illicit assignation, but to
a world  where forgiveness was forbidden.
I was labelled loose, wild, irrational
but my life had always been impervious to hope, 
and happiness incomprehensible.
Unable to speak, or break our silence,
I held her hand as I breathed my goodbyes 
and wished for her a life more illustrious.
When she had been taken I could breathe no more;
for I was suffocating slowly under 
lumps of hardstone, which became lodged in my heart
with an inextricable, forever kind of pain.
in a locked-in, forever kind of silence, 


Cait O’Connor


Monday, 24 March 2014

The Unmade Bed






Artist Tracey Emin



The Unmade Bed


Emin’s bed leaves me ‘unclean’ and sad for
her suicidal past.  Were it mine, I
could not display it, I would set it on 
fire but many more images might erupt,
just burning to be exorcised exhibits.
Beds are where all of human life reclines:
the secret, the hidden, our tears, joys and 
dreams, sex and birth, sickness, death and dying, 
all borne of the body and the soul.
A passion for sleep may be a death wish
but in my brass bed  I  live half a life
where dreams are, where books are read by candlelight,
where thoughts come and poems bubble to the fore.
Warm as a womb, a haven, soft, secure, 
it is never ever made, the white linen 
only shaken and daily aired to change
its energies.  Imagine my hell now:  
never feeling tired, keeping going,
never sleeping, keeping going, never 
stopping, keeping going, never resting, 
keeping going, never ever finding
time for  lying down and dreaming
till we end our waking lives and die.



Cait O’Connor


Magpie Tale time again, go there for more.


Friday, 21 March 2014

Letter from a Grandfather to his Grandchildren





feature_image_template


I copied this from Facebook, the source is the Huffington Post.

I have often thought of writing something similar to my grandchildren.  This dear man has got there first and written to his grandchildren and he said so much of what I would want to say myself to my own. God rest his soul.



On Sept. 3, 2012, James K. Flanagan of West Long Branch, N.J., died unexpectedly of a heart attack. He wrote this letter to his five grandchildren just months earlier and it is reprinted here with the permission of his daughter Rachel Creighton.


Dear Ryan, Conor, Brendan, Charlie, and Mary Catherine,

My wise and thoughtful daughter Rachel urged me to write down some advice for you, the important things that I have learned about life. I am beginning this on 8 April 2012, the eve of my 72nd birthday.

1. Each one of you is a wonderful gift of God both to your family and to all the world. Remember it always, especially when the cold winds of doubt and discouragement fall upon your life.

2. Be not afraid . . . of anyone or of anything when it comes to living your life most fully. Pursue your hopes and your dreams no matter how difficult or “different” they may seem to others. Far too many people don’t do what they want or should do because of what they imagine others may think or say. Remember, if they don’t bring you chicken soup when you’re sick or stand by you when you’re in trouble, they don’t matter. Avoid those sour-souled pessimists who listen to your dreams then say, “Yeah, but what if . . .” The heck with “what if. . .” Do it! The worst thing in life is to look back and say: “I would have; I could have; I should have.” Take risks, make mistakes.

3. Everyone in the world is just an ordinary person. Some people may wear fancy hats or have big titles or (temporarily) have power and want you to think they are above the rest. Don’t believe them. They have the same doubts, fears, and hopes; they eat, drink, sleep, and fart like everyone else. Question authority always but be wise and careful about the way you do it.

4. Make a Life List of all those things you want to do: travel to places; learn a skill; master a language; meet someone special. Make it long and do some things from it every year. Don’t say “I’ll do it tomorrow” (or next month or next year). That is the surest way to fail to do something. There is no tomorrow, and there is no “right” time to begin something except now.

5. Practice the Irish proverb: Moi an olge agus tiocfaidh sí ”Praise the child and she will flourish.”

6. Be kind and go out of your way to help people — especially the weak, the fearful, and children. Everyone is carrying a special sorrow, and they need our compassion.

7. Don’t join the military or any organization that trains you to kill. War is evil. All wars are started by old men who force or fool young men to hate and to kill each other. The old men survive, and, just as they started the war with pen and paper, they end it the same way. So many good and innocent people die. If wars are so good and noble, why aren’t those leaders who start wars right up there fighting?

8. Read books, as many as you can. They are a wonderful source of delight, wisdom, and inspiration. They need no batteries or connections, and they can go anywhere.

9. Be truthful.

10. Travel: always but especially when you are young. Don’t wait until you have “enough” money or until everything is “just right.” That never happens. Get your passport today.

11. Pick your job or profession because you love to do it. Sure, there will be some things hard about it, but a job must be a joy. Beware of taking a job for money alone — it will cripple your soul.

12. Don’t yell. It never works, and it hurts both yourself and others. Every time I have yelled, I have failed.

13. Always keep promises to children. Don’t say “we’ll see” when you mean “no.” Children expect the truth; give it to them with love and kindness.

14. Never tell anyone you love them when you don’t.

15. Live in harmony with Nature: go into the outdoors, woods, mountains, sea, desert. It’s important for your soul.

16. Visit Ireland. It’s where the soul of our family was born — especially the West: Roscommon, Clare, and Kerry.

17. Hug people you love. Tell them how much they mean to you now; don’t wait until it’s too late.

18. Be grateful. There is an Irish saying: “This is a day in our lives, and it will not come again.” Live every day with this in mind.

Source: HuffingtonPost


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Feast in the House of Simon




Feast in the House of Simon, El Greco





I am Mary, I stand weeping at his side.
A quiet soul, a sister for Martha,
I am the one who listens;
I was  never possessed, only labelled
by those who would wish to  keep me secret.
I have foreseen a vision of death so telling that
all I can do is anoint the holy man
in preparation for what is to come.
Aromatic myrhh and myrtle, saffron
and cinnamon, are filling the house of Simon
with their sweet fragrance.
From an alabaster cruse my soft hands
pour oil so gently onto the  parched skin of
my beloved Jesus, a highly precious
oil of muskroot, whose colour of amber
matches my long tresses.
Such is his power, this prophet, healer,
Son of God,  that by divine alchemy,
this act of love (and every other that
may come in any future world of fear)
will change me and all around me into gold.



Cait O’Connor




Another poem for Magpie Tales.  Many more interpretations can be read there, do visit.