Artist

Alexander Averin

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Because it's Winter, Thoughts on the Sun


Sleepy Lamb Diane Whitehead


Dear Diary,

The picture is nothing to do with the winter or with the sun, apart from the fact that the lamb is sunning himself or herself - I think it is a boy myself, he just caught my eye and I fell in love with him while I was on the net seeking out sunny pictures for you.

I bought my daughter for Christmas a book of selected poems by one of my most-loved poets, Mary Oliver. Quite by chance I heard this poem of hers on Irish radio this morning, only on Irish radio would you hear poetry on such a regular basis, great music too and conversation which makes you feel you are in someone's home or the pub.

In these far-too-short and dark days of Winter we need to remember the Sun; we do see her occasionally, like yesterday as I drove to Hay for a dental appointment, she shone on me through the car window all the way. She is absent today but at least I have a poem. It is one long question this poem, so true, so wise.

Stay warm.


The Sun

Have you ever seen
anything
in your life
more wonderful

than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon

and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone–
and how it slides again

out of the blackness,
every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower

streaming upward on its heavenly
oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance–
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love–
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure

that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you

as you stand there,
empty-handed–
or have you too
turned from this world–

or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?


Mary Oliver

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Connemara Girl


Augustus Burke




Connemara Girl 


She is of the mountain, her backdrop beauty:
purple mountain, blue ocean, green marbled rocks.
Beauty will not feed or sustain her small frame
hidden beneath her tattered shawl, poor girl
not yet woman. Her feet are bare, but underfoot,
summer’s heather is kind and soft as the tale
her eyes might tell, if they were inclined to speak.
Gazing hard, she keeps her feelings close, moods
like clouds, forever transient; beloved
beasts protect her back, four-footed, or fowls
of the air, she is their familiar.
They too may one day starve and die like the
Connemara girl who seems to be already
gleaning what may lie ahead. Ancient wisdom
 lies within her, wrapped in heartfelt language,
washed with tears; ancestors sing a sacred song,
a sometimes dirge, a sometimes prayer, a sometimes
vision of eternity, an oft-times song
of love. You may catch its strains across the land,
for it frames the mountains and rides the waves.
In times of stillness you may hear it,deep
and haunting, like an Irish serenade.


Cait O’Connor

Ray La Montagne - A Falling Through

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas to Everyone

A poem - A song for Christmas. My favourite carol too.

In the bleak midwinter



In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.


Christina Rossetti


Sunday, 18 December 2011

One Year Ago


Thumbelina
Wendy Chen

Dear Diary,


Fear not for the future, weep not for the past.
Percy Bysshe Shelley



The sun is (sometimes) out today so I am feeling a little brighter and a trifle warmer too. However the road became frozen overnight after quite a bit of rain which had fallen earlier and in the early hours of this morning we heard vehicles struggling to get along, including a lorry. The council are usually excellent at gritting our road but I think this icy spell must have taken them by surprise.

As I sit and type I can see two dippers by the river, they are always a joy to see, all year round. Time for a poem by one of my much-loved poets.

The Dipper

It was winter, near freezing,
I'd walked through a forest of firs
when I saw issue out of the waterfall
a solitary bird.

It lit on a damp rock,
and, as water swept stupidly on,
wrung from its own throat
supple, undammable song.

It isn't mine to give.
I can't coax this bird to my hand
that knows the depth of the river
yet sings of it on land.


Kathleen Jamie

I am spending a fortune on bird food now, on both peanuts and seed; I had decided to cut back and just buy cheap old plastic bread for them in a bid to save money but I couldn't bear to see them so hungry and obviously not satisfied by such rubbish! But the rate they are getting through it is amazing. Never mind, I balance that with the joy I get from watching them. My own diet is very sparse at the moment while I stay off fats prior to my gallbladder operation and I reckon I am saving money there which will be spent on my dear feathered friends.

I was wondering what to write about this morning and decided to look back one year to the piece I posted on the 18th December 2010 to see what was happening then. - sometimes this is quite fun to do and can be quite revealing.  So that is my gift to you today, a glimpse into the past. I cannot give you a voyage into the future but perhaps it's just as well.

One Year Ago

Have a good Sunday,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,
Cait

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Celebrations


Fleece on Earth
Wild faces Gallery


I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month
Harlan Miller



Celebrations


Her life was a predicament, a life of non-adjustment,
her wildness inexact but she did not falter
in spite of a malaise that’s seen as quirky, not quite normal.
(I tell myself and her that normal is boring).
Orphaned and unmoulded, she had no prototype to run by
and Christmas strangely always brings such pains to mind.
On shrinking days her heartstrings became broken;
there is so much she abhors, avoids or even tries to tolerate
for she’s learned false colours are a sham, a visual fallacy
and a false light always shows itself before a coming dawn.
Never one to fall in and march, she cannot sing in unison
while all her loathings move to stir and wake.
Getting up, going out, they all become too much,
planned events and obligations, grandeur, pomp and circumstance,
anything wide of the truth, deceptive or deceiving.
Pressure to spend precedes a runaway frenzy.
Her list of hates goes on, I beg her stop.
What does she love, I hear you say?
Ah, that could fill a book and would make a far nicer poem,
let’s celebrate,
there is so much, so much.


Cait O’Connor


Friday, 16 December 2011

On Childhood



Dear Diary,

I feel sluggish this week, I always dread this time of year and have no inspiration to write so today's post will just be a  Walt Whitman poem that I love and and a couple of pictures on the subject of children and  'gifts' - perhaps it's because Christmas is on the horizon,  well its almost impossible to avoid and hard to escape it, bah humbug.
There was a child went forth every day
And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became;
And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of
the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs, and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the mare's foal, and the cow's calf,
And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire of the pond-side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there--and the beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads--all became part of him.

The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month became part of him;
Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, and the esculent roots of the garden,
And the apple-trees cover'd with blossoms, and the fruit afterward,
and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road;
And the old drunkard staggering home from the out-house of the tavern, whence he had lately risen,
And the school-mistress that pass'd on her way to the school,
And the friendly boys that pass'd--and the quarrelsome boys,
And the tidy and fresh-cheek'd girls--and the barefoot negro boy and girl,
And all the changes of city and country, wherever he went.

His own parents,
He that had father'd him, and she that had conceiv'd him in her womb, and birth'd him,
They gave this child more of themselves than that;
They gave him afterward every day--they became part of him.

The mother at home, quietly placing the dishes on the supper-table;
The mother with mild words--clean her cap and gown, a wholesome odor
falling off her person and clothes as she walks by;
The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, anger'd, unjust;
The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the crafty lure,
The family usages, the language, the company, the furniture--the yearning and swelling heart,
Affection that will not be gainsay'd--the sense of what is real--the thought if, after all, it should prove unreal,
The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time--the curious whether and how,
Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes and specks?
Men and women crowding fast in the streets--if they are not flashes and specks, what are they?
The streets themselves, and the fa├žades of houses, and goods in the windows,
Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank'd wharves--the huge crossing at the ferries,
The village on the highland, seen from afar at sunset--the river between,
Shadows, aureola and mist, the light falling on roofs and gables of white or brown, three miles off,
The schooner near by, sleepily dropping down the tide--the little boat slack-tow'd astern,
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,
The strata of color'd clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint, away
solitary by itself--the spread of purity it lies motionless in,
The horizon's edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud;
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.

Walt Whitman


I would be the most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. 

Anna Quindlen





Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,
Cait aka Ms Scrooge

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Just Some Wise Words Really


Work Interrupted William Bouguerau



If you have ever wondered.. All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
by Robert Fulgham


Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.
These are the things I learned..

Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup - they all die. So do we.

And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK. Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and sane living.

Think of what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world had cookies and milk about 3 o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and cleaned up our own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Winter Words




Winter Words

A line of naked oaks looms tall upon the hill;
guardian angels standing firm, astride the line of sky,
a shield from fear perhaps or maybe simply dread.
What lies beyond?  A deadened, hardened earth
 a solemn chill, so cruelly unforgiving.
What lies beneath?  No hope of birth or any form of
life among the depths and woes of winter
which only brings a universal heartfelt need for rest.
But all the while some words I hear are racing through my head,
a kind of waking through an optimistic  prayer, a  solace to my soul.
Do words of hope have such a life and such a strength of voice
whether dancing through  my dreams or simply written through my heart?

While I step through sheeptracks, moss and river stones
 muffled, wrapped up well, towards my home below the hill,
 I stride more surely through the cold and sodden turf.
The winter words still speak through me of hope;
 I trust they will not fade,
as newly heard each day,  they make  me strong
and keep me singing wildly through the snow.

Cait O’Connor

Friday, 9 December 2011

Only Kindness Matters





If you Want To Make Yourself Happy Practise Kindness
 Dalai Lama



More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities life will be violent and all will be lost."
~Charlie Chaplin






Kindness 


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend. 


Naomi Shihab Nye

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Ted and Sylvia




Dear Diary,

I found this lovely piece on the Internet telling of how Sylvia met Ted.


Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes

by Steve King
Description: http://www.todayinliterature.com/images/spacer.gif
Description: http://www.todayinliterature.com/images/spacer.gif



Description: http://www.todayinliterature.com/images/spacer.gif
On this day in 1956 Sylvia Plath described in her journal her first meeting with Ted Hughes. The morning of writing was "gray, most sober, with cold white puritanical eyes"; the evening before had started at a bar where "I drank steadily the goblets" and endured "some ugly gat-toothed squat grinning guy named Meeson trying to be devastatingly clever." At the party -- "and oh, it was very bohemian, with boys in turtleneck sweaters and girls being blue-eye-lidded or elegant in black" -- there was more of the same, but "the jazz was beginning to get under my skin, and I started dancing with Luke and knew I was very bad, having crossed the river and banged into the trees....":
Then the worst thing happened, that big, dark, hunky boy, the only one there huge enough for me, who had been hunching around over women, and whose name I had asked the minute I had come into the room, but no one told me, came over and was looking hard in my eyes and it was Ted Hughes. . . . And then it came to the fact that I was all there, wasn't I, and I stamped and screamed yes . . . and I was stamping and he was stamping on the floor, and then he kissed me bang smash on the mouth and ripped my hair band off, my lovely red hairband scarf which had weathered the sun and much love, and whose like I shall never again find, and my favorite silver earrings: hah, I shall keep, he barked. And when he kissed my neck I bit him long and hard on the cheek, and when we came out of the room, blood was running down his face.

I have been musing on Ted and Sylvia as Ted has been very much in the news these last few days because a memorial to him has been unveiled in Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner.
A stone bearing his name and lines of his poetry has been placed below the stone for his mentor, TS Eliot.
Seamus Heaney unveiled the memorial in front of more than three hundred guests, who included Hughes' widow Carol and daughter Frieda.
The greatest poets of the age have been honoured with a tomb or a stone in a tradition going back six hundred years.
Chaucer, Tennyson and Thomas Hardy are among those buried in Poets' Corner and others include Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Blake and Eliot are memorialised there.
A friend and I have always disagreed; she is a Ted Hughes fan and I have always been a Sylvia Plath fan and if I am honest I have struggled with Ted Hughes’ poetry. I like this one though and the subject matter suits the season.  And I would love to hear of any of his that you love and might recommend to me, I need the education.

The Warm and the Cold

Freezing dusk is closing
Like a slow trap of steel
On trees and roads and hills and all
That can no longer feel.
But the carp is in its depth
Like a planet in its heaven.
And the badger in its bedding
Like a loaf in the oven.
And the butterfly in its mummy
Like a viol in its case.
And the owl in its feathers
Like a doll in its lace.

Freezing dusk has tightened
Like a nut screwed tight
On the starry aeroplane
Of the soaring night.
But the trout is in its hole
Like a chuckle in a sleeper.
The hare strays down the highway
Like a root going deeper.
The snail is dry in the outhouse
Like a seed in a sunflower.
The owl is pale on the gatepost
Like a clock on its tower.

Moonlight freezes the shaggy world
Like a mammoth of ice -
The past and the future
Are the jaws of a steel vice.
But the cod is in the tide-rip
Like a key in a purse.
The deer are on the bare-blown hill
Like smiles on a nurse.
The flies are behind the plaster
Like the lost score of a jig.
Sparrows are in the ivy-clump
Like money in a pig.

Such a frost
The flimsy moon
Has lost her wits.

A star falls.

The sweating farmers
Turn in their sleep
Like oxen on spits.

Ted Hughes

And just to be fair to Sylvia’s memory, here is one of hers called Candles which I love. I also love her poem Mirror, which is also a favourite of my daughter’s and she introduced me to it but I have posted it before. Shall I do so again? Why not?  You can’t have too much of a good thing can you?

Candles


Candles

They are the last romantics, these candles:
Upside-down hearts of light tipping wax fingers,
And the fingers, taken in by their own haloes,
Grown milky, almost clear, like the bodies of saints.
It is touching, the way they'll ignore
A whole family of prominent objects
Simply to plumb the deeps of an eye
In its hollow of shadows, its fringe of reeds,
And the owner past thirty, no beauty at all.
Daylight would be more judicious,
Giving everybody a fair hearing.
They should have gone out with the balloon flights and the stereopticon.
This is no time for the private point of view.
When I light them, my nostrils prickle.
Their pale, tentative yellows
Drag up false, Edwardian sentiments,
And I remember my maternal grandmother from Vienna.
As a schoolgirl she gave roses to Franz Josef.
The burghers sweated and wept.
The children wore white.
And my grandfather moped in the Tyrol,
Imagining himself a headwaiter in America,
Floating in a high-church hush
Among ice buckets, frosty napkins.
These little globes of light are sweet as pears.
Kindly with invalids and mawkish women,
They mollify the bald moon.
Nun-souled, they burn heavenward and never marry.
The eyes of the child I nurse are scarcely open.
In twenty years I shall be retrograde
As these drafty ephemerids.
I watch their spilt tears cloud and dull to pearls.
How shall I tell anything at all
To this infant still in a birth-drowse?
Tonight, like a shawl, the mild light enfolds her,
The shadows stoop over the guests at a christening.

Sylvia Plath


Mirror

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful-
The eye of the little god, four cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.


Sylvia Plath


I wonder how long it will be before a female (British) poet is honoured?

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,
Cait

Monday, 5 December 2011

A painting, a poem, two quotations.


Light, Cuil Phail, Iona
Donald McIntyre





If one keeps loving faithfully what is really worth loving, and does not waste one's love on insignificant and unworthy and meaningless things, one will get more light by and by and grow stronger. Sometimes it is well to go into the world and converse with people, and at times one is obliged to do so, but he who would prefer to be quietly alone with his work and who wants but very few friends, will go safest through the world and among people. And even in the most refined circles and with the best surroundings and circumstances, one must keep something of the original character of an anchorite, for otherwise one has no root in oneself; one must never let the fire go out in one's soul, but keep it burning. And whoever chooses poverty for himself and loves it possesses a great treasure, and will always clearly hear the voice of his conscience; he who hears and obeys that voice, which is the best gift of God, finds at least a friend in it, and is never alone.


Vincent Van Gogh




The Bread Of Beggars, The Wine Of Christ


Dublin, Christmas 1953

In Dublin’s streets
Around the way to Christmas
Blackbirds sing.
Eire’s orphan children cluster
Stashed in alleys, lost in sidewalks, cold in vestibules
of movies
There to chant and carol through the snowing winds
In nights of rains.
Their high and weather-tossed refrains
Sound Christ and his sweet breath
His sun-birth, not his death:
His greeting forth of wisdom in the land
Sings forth down every street on every hand
Enchants your hotel room where echoes of it
Time your shaving before supper,
And as you leave the hotel door
More sparrows rise, more orioles
And blackbirds sing
From out the Christmas pies that celebrate a holy King.
The bread of beggars, the wine of Christ,
Delivered with the falling white, it manifests
A wonder, such miracles of snow that
Melting on small tongues
Become his sweetly breathing life.
You move to wife the weather
Husband winds that knife and harrow
Strike your marrow, freeze it pale.
Yet all about in storefront jails
Stunned flocks of starlings
Driven to earth in winter flood
Of fogging heaven, raining thunder, God who lids
them down
And bids them sing for their lost souls.
And so they sing in promises of love not pain
A time that was, is not, but will arrive again
To warm the land and stir our bloods.
These hearths of children know all Dublin’s neighbourhoods
In every corner, alley, shop
Where snow drifts like spun-candles:
There they hide. Would you abide their place?
Then lift your touch to every heartbeat face
The bright coals of their cheeks breathe charcoal pink
As if the bellows of their tiny starling lungs
Blew on them forcing fire and ash
And fire once more.
From every winter door they cry a last refrain
To burn downwind;
With Christ a fever in their eyes
They birth him forth in snow that melts to rain
In Dublin’s streets now once again
Hark! midnight church bells ring;
And echoing that sound of Christmas:
Blackbirds sing.

Ray Bradbury 


Imagination is everything.  It is the preview of life’s coming attractions 
Albert Einstein


Saturday, 3 December 2011

Alphabet Day







Sleeping Cat
Pierre Auguste Renoir 


Are cats lazy? Well more power to them if they are.

Anon





Alphabet Day


Anything you do today may tire you,
best thing is to rest,
create masterpieces in your head.  Enjoy a
do nothing day.
(Everyone needs them).
Face up to it,
give in,
have a day off.  Spend time
in relaxing surroundings,  think only of
joyous pastimes whether it be
knitting,
lazing or
meditating.
Never feel guilty, let
others do the chores,
please yourself just for once.
(Quickly before you change your mind!)
Read on the sofa or
sitting on your favourite chair.
Take time out,
under no circumstances relent or
vary your activities, just
watch the world go by,
X-ist.
You know you deserve it.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz



Cait O’Connor


PS As Winifred Carriere said ' Cats always know whether people like or dislike them.  They do not always care enough to do anything about it'.




Thursday, 1 December 2011

Jeremy Clarkson





Dear Diary,

So Jeremy Clarkson wants me taken outside and executed in front of my family does he? I have never ever liked the man but I think even with his low standards he has sunk too low with this one and I for one demand that he is sacked from the BBC. I do not wish to contribute in my licence fee to his over-huge salary.

This is what he said:

I would take them [strikers] outside and execute them in front of their families. I would have them all shot.

I mean how dare they go on strike when they have these gilt-edged pensions that are going to be guaranteed, while the rest of us have to work for a living.

I am a member of the union Unison and am off sick at present. I am not in the pension scheme, not all public service workers are, my reason being that at one time I could not afford the contributions and I never opted back in. I am one of the low paid, there are millions of us. However, wherever I sit on this issue, I support anyone’s right to strike.

Dave Prentis, Unison leader’s comments:

Jeremy Clarkson clearly needs a reminder of just who he is talking about when he calls for public sector workers to be shot in front of their families," he added. "Whilst he is driving round in fast cars for a living, public sector workers are busy holding our society together - they save others’ lives on a daily basis, they care for the sick, the vulnerable, the elderly.

Clarkson then went on to comment on people committing suicide on railways, stating:

You just think, why have we stopped because we've hit somebody? What's the point of stopping? It won't make them better.

I wonder how many people have been seriously upset by that statement, the relatives and friends of people who have committed suicide? There must be so many.

I didn't watch the programme and have no idea why he was on it -he was probably trying to sell a book or promote something.

Presenter Matt Baker made an on-air apology for the remark, saying “We are seriously sorry”. A BBC spokesman later declined to add to the issue. The corporation confirmed that they have had 4,769 complaints on Clarkson's comments.

And I can tell you that the number is rising.

Take one man, place him in an old aircraft hangar, surround him with hordes of ignorant worshippers, all made to stand and hang on his every word. Make it seem like a church where he can preach his creed. Have SPEED his GOD (along with HIMSELF of course). Wreck cars for fun. Waste energy and public money hand over fist doing silly stunts in the name of ‘entertainment’. Pay him an obscene amount of public money.

The worrying thing is how many fans he has............but then so did Hitler I guess.

Why not give him a Knighthood as well? He is a friend of David Cameron's after all. His comment was that Jeremy had been ‘silly’.

I would remind Cameron that very immature young men have been imprisoned very recently for the ‘incitement to riot’ by posting somewhat mild remarks on Facebook etc or for stealing a Mars Bar or a bottle of drink from a shop. I consider Jeremy Clarkson's remarks on the One Show to be fascist, a possible incitement to violence and most certainly inflammatory as they could definitely incite violence among certain elements of society. I would like to know what is to be done about his remarks which were made on a prime-time programme that goes out before the watershed and is watched by the general population, many of whom may be influenced by such a man.

Is it one law for the rich and one for the poor? Are we not only being ripped off financially?

This is also the man who went on Who Do You Think You Are and his only concern was in finding a lost fortune with seemingly no interest or emotional response to finding his roots. Sums him up really doesn’t it?

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,
Cait.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

David Whyte



Burren Area Looking North Along The Coastline

Dear Diary,

You look and look and look,beyond all looking
David Whyte

The world of blogging is an amazing thing. Foxglove Lane recommended a poet to me by the name of David Whyte. I am ashamed to say I had  never heard of him but I immediately looked him up (isn't the Internet a wonderful thing?). What should I discover but that he had been a friend of the late John O'Donohue, someone I very much admire and have written about many times. Not only had  he been a friend, he had also written a beautiful poem in his memory which I am happy to be able to share with you.  Before the poem there is some wonderful prose.

Enjoy.




In Memoriam
John O’Donohue

A drive into the setting sun of a summer evening, west of Ballyvaughan would take you along the limestone coast of North Clare, with the salt ocean on the right and a rising, almost over bearing, mountain of white stone on your left.  The road grips the cliff edge for a good while and then opens into dunes. From there you would see a long curve of beach and a far, inviting prospect of the Aran Islands silhouetted in the low sunlight. As you drive, your gaze is so naturally pulled forward into this horizon of fire and shadow that you would most likely, and thankfully, miss the narrow lane to the left that disappears very quickly into the recesses of the mountain. You would have passed the entrance to the valley without knowing, much to the relief of the people who live beyond its entrance and who have enjoyed its solitude for centuries.

That quiet lane disappears into a sanctuary, one of the most hidden and silent enclosures in the whole north Burren. The geological architecture of the valley speaks of shelter, the human history of fortitude and the view out to sea from the surrounding hills, of all the possible and imminent futures about to blow in from the west.

Out of that private, beautiful enclosed valley there came into the world a very private but very unenclosed man, one who knew the need in every human heart for that sense of sanctuary, and for that silence but equally for the high and necessary walk which brings the horizon and the future alive again and again in the home-bound human imagination. John O’Donohue grew up in that valley and eventually entered our world through that narrow pass down to the sea.  He took us with him as he journeyed to those beckoning horizons and generously brought us, as we listened to him or read him, to marvel, to wonder, and to return home transformed. He was a rare form of human possibility, a razor sharp intellect married to a far-travelling, Irish articulation and a bird-of-paradise vocabulary that made the listener realize that until then they had never listened at all. Like the valley from which he emerged, all the geological and imaginative layers of human experience were present in his speech at once; he could bring recesses and contours in the listener alive that quickened their senses, broke their enclosed imprisoning notions of self and lead them on, up high into that clear western air, listening to the lark calls, letting the wind blow them clean of worry, and returning them to their shadowed, home valley with a strange sense of intention, of courage, and a brave, laughing almost flamboyant, sense of celebration.

I was privileged to have a close friendship with John, to witness him work and play, to eat and drink with him and to participate in that moveable, laughing, bull-fighting, swish-of-the-cloak drama that accompanied and enlivened everything and everyone around him. I also knew, behind the mesmerizing cloak, the serious philosopher, the critical take-no-prisoners thinker, the responsible head of a close, extended family, and the courageous, almost sacrificial activist, who with a group of North Burren allies, took on the might of the Irish establishment and won a victory that changed Irish law at a foundational level. This is a man who could hold the broad spectrum of human experience together in a fierce, intimate and compassionate way, leavened with a humour that defies easy description and that enlivened everyone around him.

John leaves behind an enormous circle of bereft readers and listeners, a great crowd of mourning friends, and most especially, a shocked and grieving family in his loving mother Josie, his loyal brothers PJ and Pat, his good sister Mary; his extended family, Dympna, Eilish, Shane, Kate, Triona and Peter and more recently, but equally poignant, the woman to whom he had just committed his future and who had brought him a happiness he had sought all his life: Kristine Fleck.

John was a love-letter to humanity from some address in the firmament we have yet to find and locate, though we may wander many a year looking or listening for it. He has gone home to that original address and cannot be spoken with except in the quiet cradle of the imagination that he dared to visit so often himself. As a way of sending a love letter in return, I wrote this poem for him a good few years ago. I hope it can still reach him now, wherever he is to be found and that he finds it as good a representation as he did when he lived and breathed. I remember the bright, surprised and amused intelligence in his eyes when I first read it to him, sitting by his fire in Connemara.  It brings him back to me even as I read it now, as I hope it does for you.



Looking Out From Clare

For John Donohue


There’s a great spring in you
all bud and blossom
and March laughter
I’ve always loved.
Your face framed
against the bay
and the whisper
of some arriving joke
playing at the mouth,
your lightening raid
on the eternal
melting the serious line
to absurdity.
I look around and see
the last days of winter
broken away
for all those
listening or watching,
all come to life now
with the first pale sun on their face
for many a month,
remembering how to laugh.
But most of all I love
the heft and weight
and swing of that sea
behind it all, some other tide
racing toward the shore,
or receding to the calmness
where no light or laughter
lives for long.
The way you surface
from those atmospheres
again and again,
your emergence seems to make
you a lover of horizons
but your visitation
of darkness shows.
Then away from you
I can see you only alone
on the strand
walking to the sea
on the north coast of Clare
toward the end
of an unendurable winter
taking your first swim
of the year.
The March scald
of cold ocean
even in May about to tighten
and bud you into spring.
You look across
to the mountains in Connemara
framing, only for now,
your horizon.
You look and look, and look,
beyond all looking.


David Whyte
January 2008

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,
Cait


Sunday, 27 November 2011

Last night my dreams found me








Last night my dreams found me


Last night my dreams found me
and sent me on horseback, solitary but safe.
Two Connemara ponies carried me across Irish mountains,
one horse was the purest grey, one black,
one for my baggage, one for my glad heart alone.

(No swimming for me in deep rivers, not waving but drowning in seas).

I wonder how in your dreams will you travel, on the wings of which bird will you fly?
(Or will you develop your own?).

Will you perch in the pocket of a fairy or travel tucked behind an angel’s wing?
Will you be cwched warmly in the trap of a pony
or, like Mary, will you sit on the back of a donkey
with one special brave knight leading the way?

Will you play, will you sing, will you dance there with music?
Or will you ride in a vardo with Romance and just a poem to brighten each day?
Will you venture by footfall by day or will you stroll in the dead of a night
under the spell of a bright Harvest Moon?

Or will you meander your way at your leisure
in the shade of a sun, in an autumn
which spreads out your smile with its gold?

I just pray you are not over-burdened;
greed, hatred and envy can carry a toll.

Only love truly lightens your journey,
helps all your dreams  find you,
lift you and bring you safe home.


Cait O’Connor

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Farewell





Farewell


Nearing nine decades, you were

weak of heart, frailer than frail,

thinner than thin, paler than pale,

never one to give in, your soul had lost its body’s–fight.

Your mind, still strong, your voice was weak,

only your eyes could tell of its defeat;

(those eyes, intelligent and wise).

Fading fast about us, the only will remaining, was the will to live,

its strength of purpose hung about the bed

courting your spirit, preparing for its flight.

I could almost taste the ward, so white,

the sterile coldness seeping deep inside your ag`ed bones.

The Earth became a stranger to you then;

you’d little left to learn, nought to fear, it was clearly time to leave,

without one tiny tear or ounce of fuss, right to the end,

(no softly-spoken angels in your wake),

just a final straightening-up, one quick soft look, an outstretched hand

so all seemed strangely right and fitting for the day.

For me, a sadness and a pain

that lies down low, so deep within my heart,

a grief that I must bear, soothed only by your strength.

I felt that as you quietly passed; your spirit rose

to stillness and to certain Paradise,

away from all the darkness and the sadness in this world,

the world you bade farewell to on that stark November day.


Cait O’Connor

The Road Not Taken




Woodland Faery by Robin Pushe’e

(www.fairy-art.net)

This faery pic reminds me of my youngest granddaughter.



This video below is for Tracy Golightly-Garcia (whose blog is a lovely place to visit by the way); it is the poem that she would choose to take to her Desert Island.  (see previous posts).

 I love the name Golightly by the way...... and it's also a great way to travel...down any road. 

 I have posted this poem before; it is much-loved by so many.

Enjoy.







TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.



Robert Frost