Alexander Averin

Monday, 24 September 2007

Peace One Day Part Two/Edna O'Brien

Dear Diary,

It’s a BOGOF blog day today, two (little ones) for the price of one.

"The only thing for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Edmund Burke (attributed) 1729-1797

I’m still pondering on the theme of peace and I found, too late I suppose, something I wrote a long long time ago, I hope I can now submit it as Part Two for Peaceoneday.

One day I was thinking about the Earth and imagined looking down on it from way above in Outer Space. I realised I would not see countries as such, nor any borders dividing them. I would just see one planet, one Earth.

There is only One Earth
May Love Prevail
May Peace begin with Me

I was pondering you see,

On why people are willing to become martyrs?
On why are so many of the world starving?
On why our world seems to be dominated by white males of the Western hemisphere.

The history books should help with some of the answers but why do we never learn from our mistakes?

On racism:

I would liken racism to be like a plant, the seed of which is fear, which is sown, fed, watered and then transplanted by organisations of all types, by religious differences, by governments and by the media.

Would that we could use the same, obviously successful, mechanism for growth but instead plant the desire for harmony between peoples and weed out the racism which exists within our neighbourhoods and many countries of the world.

For love is the opposite of fear and is the antidote to all hatred.

Fear’s bedfellow is ignorance.

Knowledge is power.

On war:

War and terrorism wear different cloaks but they produce the same outcome

We have to learn how to cope with the evil in our midst, firstly in our own hearts, minds and voices. Pray and meditate for peace, talk it up, spread the words. The ripple effect will do the rest.

Perhaps we should look past the scaremongering, hidden agendas and propaganda and try to seek ways to replace unrest with harmony, replace power of the few with power of the people and replace violence of all kinds with a powerful and energetic quest for peace.

Violence only ever breeds violence for like is always drawn to like.

There is only One Earth.
May love prevail and
let the peace begin with me.

And now for something completely different.

Three quotes by a favourite author:

When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious."

Writing is like carrying a foetus.

The vote means nothing to women. We should be armed.

Edna O’Brien 1932-

I had a real treat today while listening to Woman’s Hour over a late breakfast. Edna O’Brien was featured and she is one of my very very favourite writers. They are publishing The Country Girls again, the book that was banned in Ireland all those years ago, the first book that Edna wrote when she arrived in London in 1952 (it took three weeks to write). Her writing has been described as lyrical yet lacerating and she says that Ireland is her inspiration whether she is in it or out of it. She finds she can only live and write in London because she needs solitude. I sort of understand what she means.

I always enjoy listening to her speak and totally agreed with her when she talked about the best thing anyone can do in their life is to read the very best books. She thinks it is far better than any university education because university degree teaching ‘takes the sap out of what’s there‘. I so agree with that viewpoint on the study of literature as I always hated the way poems and books were ‘dissected’ and ‘discussed to death‘. It reminds me of U A Fanthorpe’s poem ‘Dear Mr Lee’ which I love so much. I have posted it on here before, but hey ho, it’s worth it!

Dear Mr Lee

Dear Mr Lee (Mr Smart says
it's rude to call you Laurie, but that's
how I think of you, having lived with you
really all year), Dear Mr Lee
(Laurie) I just want you to know
I used to hate English, and Mr Smart
is roughly my least favourite person,
and as for Shakespeare (we're doing him too)
I think he's a national disaster, with all those jokes
that Mr Smart has to explain why they're jokes,
and even then no one thinks they're funny,
And T. Hughes and P. Larkin and that lot
in our anthology, not exactly a laugh a minute,
pretty gloomy really, so that's why
I wanted to say Dear Laurie (sorry) your book's
the one that made up for the others, if you
could see my copy you'd know it's lived
with me, stained with Coke and Kitkat
and when I had a cold, and I often
take you to bed with me to cheer me up
so Dear Laurie, I want to say sorry,
I didn't want to write a character-sketch
of your mother under headings, it seemed
wrong somehow when you'd made her so lovely,
and I didn't much like those questions
about social welfare in the rural community
and the seasons as perceived by an adolescent,
I didn't think you'd want your book
read that way, but bits of it I know by heart,
and I wish I had your uncles and your half-sisters
and lived in Slad, though Mr Smart says your view
of the class struggle is naïve, and the examiners
won't be impressed by me knowing so much by heart,
they'll be looking for terse and cogent answers
to their questions, but I'm not much good at terse and cogent,
I'd just like to be like you, not mind about being poor,
see everything bright and strange, the way you do,
and I've got the next one out of the Public Library,
about Spain, and I asked Mum about learning
to play the fiddle, but Mr Smart says Spain isn't
like that any more, it's all Timeshare villas
and Torremolinos, and how old were you
when you became a poet? (Mr Smart says for anyone
with my punctuation to consider poetry as a career
is enough to make the angels weep).

PS Dear Laurie, please don't feel guilty for
me failing the exam, it wasn't your fault,
it was mine, and Shakespeare's
and maybe Mr Smart's, I still love Cider
it hasn't made any difference.

U A Fanthorpe

The two pics above are by an American artist, Ron Bayens; a fellow blogger has introduced me to his work.

The lily photo was sent to me by a friend.

Bye for now,


Frances said...

Good morning Cait.

What a good way to begin a day, reading your blog. I quite liked the plant/racism analogy.

Peace can be encouraged with every interaction each of us has every day. I think of this during each ride I take on the NYC subway system. A vast mixture of people, traveling underground, needing to get to some location. Sharing a not very pleasant environment.

It is about time now for me to get myself ready to take another of those rides, peacefully.


Suffolkmum said...

I do love Edna O'Brien too. I particularly loved her quote about how women should be armed - I hadn't heard that before and it really made me laugh.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Oh I loved the poem . . . and all the rest - but I especially loved the poem.

Casdok said...

Loved your ponderings!
And the music!


thought provoking stuff as ever ,

annakarenin said...

Those blogs were a brilliant tribute to a day that should be celebrated on a far wider scale so everyone knows. Such heart rendering poetry on the waste that is war.

I don't think I have read any Edna O'Brien but will seek her out now.

muddyboots said...

missed womans hour, but enjoyed your blog instead....

Exmoorjane said...

Crumbs Cait, too much to comment on here.....and so much to think about.
I couldn't agree more re a university education with regard to literature - sucks the blood out of it totally. People are always amazed when I say that if you love literature, DON'T do a literature degree!
I don't know where to start with I won't! it's late, time for bed.....jxxxxx

@themill said...

Wise, wise words Cait.

CAMILLA said...

Dear Cait, as ever so much to look at here, and to enjoy your truly wonderful Diary. I remember that poem by Fanthorpe, wonderful. I usually have Womans Hour on the radio in the mornings, and also like to have it on when I am driving to work. Some interesting Authors lately. I have not read anything by Edna O'Brien, although I have heard of her, I will get some books out this Friday at our local Library, hopefully there should be some in stock, if not I will order some. Love those pictures. As for Peace, I hope it does happen, the world would be a better place.


DJ Kirkby said...

The lillies ares tunningly gorgeous. Imagine writing a book in 3 hand! I agree with your racism/seed analogy, wonderfuly depicted and spot on for creating visual impact through words.

Woozle1967 said...

A thought provoking blog, as ever, Cait. Beautiful lillies too!xx

Pipany said...

A lovely blog and one that has set me thinking. Well done Cait and have a peaceful weekend xx

laurie said...

and edna o'brien is one of my favorites, as well. i have read the country girls trilogy at least three times, and most of her other books, as well.

her latest book--about her mother (well, it's a novel, but it's based on her own relationship with her mother) was searing. those letters her mother wrote! my god.

if you've not read it, you'll enjoy it, i think.