Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Poetry Bus Poem - Deadly Hold

As the prompt is a Halloween theme, I tried to think of something scary.  During the week, I read a piece about the social condition of Ireland post the 'Celtic Tiger', so I figured that's pretty scary and would warrant inclusion.  Posting early as weekend is a bit hectic!

Deadly Hold

The dark dank hold,
that cuts out light,
and children’s eyes that mourn,
like angel sirens,
humming low,
beneath the ghoulish mound,
that sought to kick the weak and lame,
and seeped through rise and fall of day,
with man’s ignorance of place,
of self,
and all the things,
that stupid loss prevails.
It wasn’t vampire that led us here,
nor simple greed alone,
for that of course,
is never enough,
to roar the why of IGNORAMUS.
It formed the flow right down the cheek,
invisible tears of souls,
pumped and geared,
raved up in mass to monster beat,
of evil shit upon the street,
in comfortable suburban zones,
or the elegant elite,
at some high class treat,
with Mommy & Daddy’s drinks display,
that always came to save the day,
an easy fix to set our children free,
to live life in the futile shade,
playing the ‘ignorant game’.
The one that led us all astray,
the pimp that pumped our deadly ride,
plummeting our own decay,
and laughs loudly now today,
the dark dank deadly hold,
that cuts out light,
and children’s eyes that mourn,
like angel sirens,
humming low,
seeped through wounds,
of good auld Tiger Ireland.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Remembering Joan O Flynn

The launch of 'Joan's Book' last week was a great success.  The GAA hall in Lucan was filled to capacity with Joan's family and her many friends, including yours truely.

It was a wonderful evening, not just because it was a fine tribute to a fantastic woman, but because it launched an equally fantastic book.  The book which is a combination of Joan's short stories, poems, paintings, photographs from her life along with the bones of an autobiography,(written by the good lady herself) allows those that knew her, revisit again, her talent, wit, and her over abundance of love for creativity, life, family and friends.

For anyone that missed out on the launch, copies of Joan's Book are available at Abtree Bookshop, Lynch’s , Eurospar and anywhere that you would buy the Lucan newsletter.

It is also available in the book shop in Naas and will hopefully be soon available from Easons & Amazon.

Below is a short video compiled by the family of our late friend Joan O Flynn.  You will also see other videos here, some of the launch night and one of Joan's story,'Common Market' from the Anthology 'Caught in Amber' by Lucan Writers


Thought for the Weekend - Emily Dickinson

Sorry for being so late with this!  I kinda feel we all need a bit of hope heading into the darker afternoons ahead from this weekend. 

But we gain an extra hour! Use it doing something that makes you smile, we don't do enough of that.  It helps you live longer!

"....Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune with the words, and never stops at all."

- Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Room by Emma Donoghue - Book Club

Room by Emma Donoghue will be reviewed next week by a Book Club that has been mad enough to allow 120 Socks to be a member.

The book is well worth a read, and I look forward to posting feedback from our Book Club when we get together.  But in the interim, here is one of the reams of articles written about this book, which was incidentally short-listed this year for the Booker Prize. Also of note is that Emma Donoghue is Irish, so all in all it is well worth supporting.!

'The universe of Donoghue's docu-novel is a garden shed that is home to five-year-old Jack, the storyteller, and his devoted Ma, abducted at 18, and who is now fading in and out of black depression. There's a tyrannical occasional visitor, Old Nick, on whom the pair depend for food, light and heat -- for life itself. He calls usually when Jack is tucked into his bed in the wardrobe.  In no time, this room becomes a hellish world for the reader, as well as for Jack and Ma. Life revolves around finding ways of making the days pass. You play games; word games, mostly. You exercise. Today. Again tomorrow. And tomorrow, like yesterday.
Like John Boyne's Bruno in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, he knows more than he understands. Jack does not fit into the accepted moulds of boyhood. Since he does not share the assumptions that help make sense of the world, a chasm yawns between him and 'Outside'.
The novel is as much about empathising with suffering at the extreme of the spectrum as about our society's expectations.  Donoghue's great strength - apart from her storytelling gift - is her emotional intelligence.  We get enough information to feel uncomfortable - and therefore to question our assumptions about how family life ought to be; and to know that life will always be an unequal struggle.'

Sunday, October 24, 2010

On The Bus! - Simple Silent Din

Poetry Bus Theme - Meetings.

This was a brilliant theme this week and so the old brain was working overtime trying to work out how I would use this best. 

Then I came across a photograph in a book called 'Beyond the Moment - Irish Photojournalism in Our Time'.  It was of a little girl sitting by a 'Lost Property' sign at a campaign run by the charity Bardandos (p103 for anyone that has it, and not the image to the left by the way). 

Anyway, this gave me the final idea for the following poem which tries to explore the meeting of the adult and the child within. 

Well whatever floats your boat as they say! I promise next week to be more light hearted, honestly I will!


Simple Silent Din

When you meet your inner child, what does he or she say about you?
Do you laugh together and remember times of joy?
Do you revisit days that posed large dark shadows,
when big people scared you, and he or she, were forced to hide.

When you meet your inner child, is he or she still familiar?
Do you think how far the two of you have come?
Does the child eyes that stare at you from some old photograph,
wonder wisely about the she or he, that adulthood has undone?

Can you reach inside your younger, living, old breathing self,
and rekindle, the his or her arresting spirit nonetheless?
The one that braved the madness they could never fully fathom,
running life so fast, the blinkin' craziness became a quest.

Can you hear the child as they shout right up at you?
To hold on to the dynamo that once you might have been.
To grab life despite it being basked in its own confusion,
winning out, as once he or she, believed they could.

Allow the prospect of another day, be just tomorrow,
to look and find  the things waiting  for you to see.
Remember beauty isn’t found within the pretty,
rather in the difference between you, he and she.

And knowing who it is that your younger child remembers,
like yesterday, earth stones buried deep within.
Waiting to be explored in the annals of your memory,
a forever resting place, for their simple silent din.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thought for the Weekend - George Bernard Shaw

'Life is no brief candle for me.  It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.'

George Bernard Shaw

Roughly translated means, if you are alive, go for it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Strike - Tracy Ryan

Hi all, in case any of you missed this play the first time around, it is well worth seeing. 

Written and directed  by Tracy Ryan, it is based on the story of 11 Dublin strikers who changed world history.

See Below:

STRIKE! the play is back by popular demand at the Samuael Beckett Theatre 26th October  - 6th November 2010.

What the audience said about STRIKE!:


“Brilliant show. Very emotional.”

            “It was a terrific production. Brought back many memories and was truly inspirational.”

“Great show, saw it last night! A well deserved standing ovation!”

In Dublin in 1984, the economy was failing, unemployment was rife and 10 young women and one young man were about to change the world.  In July a shop worker on Henry Street refused to sell South African fruit to a store customer and was suspended. Ten colleagues followed her out on strike; they thought it would last 2 weeks - it went on for nearly three years.

The play uses visuals and music of the time to tell the story of a group of young people who went on strike to protest against apartheid and confronted the establishment, caused a state of emergency in South Africa and eventually saw the banning of South African produce in Ireland. 

The cast of STRIKE! includes ex - students from UCD's MA Drama and Performance so please support us!

Come and join us - we look forward to seeing you at STRIKE!

Samuel Beckett Theatre, Trinity College Dublin
Tuesday 26 October to Saturday 6 Nov. at 7.30 pm
Matinee on Saturday 29 and November 6 at 2.30 pm
Tickets €15.99; €11.99 concession; €9.99 matinee and for group rate of 10
Box office: Book online at
www.tcd.ie/drama or by phone at 01 - 896 2461

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Seamus Heaney - Blackberry Picking

With the frost that threatened last weekend finally taking hold of the ground this morning, I was relieved to see that the crisp sunshine of October could melt it quickly.

So never one to miss an opportunity, mid morning I took to walking and was surprised to see so many blackberries still opulent on the hedgerows.

I thought of Seamus Heaney's poem 'Blackberry Picking' and how he remembered with sadness the lovely canfuls turning to rot, and was glad that at least this morning they hung with such tempting grandeur.

Anyhow have a listen below:

Blackberry Picking

Seamus Heaney

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
for a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
sent us out with milk-cans, pea-tins, jam-pots
where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
we trekked and picked until the cans were full,
until the tinkling bottom had been covered
with green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
with thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
the fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
that all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Down By The Elderberry Trees

Down By The Elderberry Trees

I sit by the elderberry trees in the field at the back of our house.
From my window this morning I watched them wave to me.
Now in mid-autumn the cherry-coloured berries are sought by the birds,as they turn black red with the change of season.

It won’t be long before the crisp cold of winter frames us with frost.
Spring bulbs buried low in readiness of life to come.I sit here wrapped up in my coat, scarf and  boots,pen and paper at the ready.

Dry leaves swirl above the soil,rustling change coming from the valley,branches creak against hill tops turned cold grey,a beauty that is lost to words.For how can one capture,the change of season,the turning over of life,the crazy ever changing, ever steadfast wonder.

Down here by the elderberries,I am hidden from the house, I can be alone,
with just the taste and breath of earth and trees,a wondrous continuance of all things.
I look down at my pen and paper,as light moves within the leaves that barely hang on,
writing in a place I have never written before,and I wonder why.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thought for the Weekend/Life - Nelson Mandela

Well here's a heavy hitting statement if ever there was one.

A close friend of mine sticks good quotations up around her living space, hoping I imagine all the inspiration will turn into positive thinking and actions.

So I give you these words for digesting over the coming weekend, and lifetime!!!

'Vision without action is merely daydreaming.  Action without vision is passing the time.  But vision with action can change the world.'

- Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Project Arts Centre - Nighthawks in Aid of Oxfam Ireland

Great night coming up at the Project Arts Centre Temple Bar - Saturday 30th October.  Proceeds to Oxfam Ireland, see details below:

NIGHTHAWKSNighthawks, a monthly arts club, is heading to Project Arts Centre for one special night of music, comedy, poetry and plays, all in aid of Oxfam Ireland.

This full and fabulous night of entertainment includes; music from Fiach and Enda Reilly, plus a special semi-acoustic headline set from Thomas Walsh (Pugwash and one half of The Duckworth Lewis Method), comedy from Damo Clark, Trevor Browne and Totally Wired, poetry from Colm Keegan and Stephen James Smith, and all topped off with a performance of the new short play Should’ve Gone To Lourdes.

Ticket prices include a free copy of Nighthawks – The Second Oxfam EP and all proceeds from the night will go to Oxfam Ireland.

Suitable ages 18+ contains some strong language and reference of a sexual nature.

For bookings log on to http://www.projectartscentre.ie/programme/whats-on/1147-nighthawks-2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Poetry Bus Poem - Newsflash


Commuters were unhappy on the N4 yesterday morning,
stuck in their cars, engines ticking over, minds a blast.
The memory of last night’s vegetation by the telly, a whirl with the lads,
or kids fighting the notion of sleep, looming dangerously high.

Miles of immovable traffic on tarmac with white lines going nowhere,
instruction signs and numbered distances that they have long since tired of.
A form of silent madness hovers, thoughts itching at the far corners of their brains,
believing now, this could be their moment.

As the seconds turn into minutes and the hand brake is pulled reluctantly up,
as the legs becomes semi-paralysed, and the foot eases on the accelerator.
When holding the steering wheel is as pointless as working out how long?
Something long forgotten, a hint or a notion, a daydream takes over.

And they start to remember, when they didn’t have a car,
when they ran or cycled to all everyday places.
And the breeze was their engine and their feet turned the wheel.
When it was okay to be late for everything, except blinking school.

And a character in a TV soap was more important than their parents.
When music filled their soul, instead of their car radio,
and life was for living, in the here and now.
When they too were a person, with hopes, dreams and a future.

And before they even know it, a sort of smile starts to take over,
just a tiny hint at the upper edges of their mouths,
rising to the kind that might be embarrassing,
as they each start to wonder.

Why did life get so complicated?
Why did they forget how good it could feel?
When falling in love was for falling back out again.
And everything was a blast, because it just shagging was.

A cosy feeling takes over.
A long lost sense of self.
And they look all around them, and a belief starts to simmer,
a belief, that if they wanted, they could be that way again.

Cause change is in the detail, never in the substance.
And the person behind the wheel,
is that young boy in the race, or that girl from the ‘under 12 final’,
that both were triumphant.

In the distance a green light holds movement,
and they, like their cars are ready for the go.
So they get into position and the progress is heaven,
Cause the wheels in their mind are in line with their engine.

Newsflash: Commuters got happy on the N4 yesterday morning,
traffic jam turned silver lining,
stuck in their cars,
all minds a blast. 


Saturday, October 9, 2010

'Connections' Art Exhibition - Francis Mc Crory

The Van

Through his collection 'Connections', Francis Mc Crory explores people, places and things in our capital city of Dublin, in any number of ways. 

Mc Crory delves into the relationship between the elements that we encounter every day, and very often take for granted.

The Stella Picture Theatre
His collection illustrates derelict buildings, including the 'Stella Cinema', (that in my youth I believed to be 'awfully grand', and which still holds strong memories for me), obscure  Phone Boxes, The Luas, Public Buses down O Connell Street, and Chip Vans by the Sea.

Of all the images in the exhibition, apart from the Stella Cinema that is an iconic building of my childhood, I absolutely loved 'The Van' and 'Midnight Call'. Mc Crory's extraordinary strength of colour and creation of light, combined with the unique accessibility of his work means that what he gives you, is both refreshing and vibrant.

He is unbelievably a mere 27 years of age.  Born in Belfast, he is a fine arts graduate from the University of Ulster.  He has won two awards for 'Best Emerging Artist'.  The Diageo Award in 2006 and the prestigious KPMG Award in 2007.

He is certainly one to watch, and his work made my Saturday morning in Dublin, all the better for having the opportunity to see it.

(Exhibition Gormleys Fine Art, 24 South Frederick Street, Dublin)


Midnight Call

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thought for the Weekend - George Bernard Shaw

 "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.  I don't believe in circumstances.  The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they can't find them, make them."

George Bernard Shaw

Juliet Turner & I at the National Concert Hall

Sounds good doesn't it?

Needless to say Juliet was the one on the stage, whilst I was one of the many followers sitting in the audience.

It did my soul good to listen to one of the greatest Irish singer songwriters around.  Juliet played some of the old reliables like, 'Dr Fell' and 'Burn the Black Suit' , as well as some new material from her latest album.  Even if Juliet did not have the most amazing voice, I could just spend the night listening to her lyrics.  Her music is both direct and exciting with a rawness of intensity that enhances her music every time she performs.  She has the uncanny knack of always making you feel that you are listening to something new, vibrant and different.

The sound in the National Concert Hall was great as usual, but there was something about Juliet and her performance that felt truly intimate, almost as if you were just sitting in your own living room or a cosy pub.  Either way, it was a really enjoyable evening. 

At the end of the night, some of us hung on to chat to Juliet, who was signing Cd's after singing her heart out.  But she kept smiling, and displayed her quick witted sense of humour even at a late hour.  Sense of humour enough to get into a picture with yours truly.  I thank the photographer, a great friend of mine who also managed to get a couple of autographs as well!!

Monday, October 4, 2010



The air is filled with the sweat of others. Intensity of form within each brush stroke, guided by hand and heart.  Mixed colours forming connections in the real and the surreal.  No one particularly cares what the model feels. A thing of beauty but a thing all the same.

She holds her pose well, like a nude mannequin might, envying the artists their freedom of creation. Not for the first time she wonders what’s behind each easel.  Part of her there, but only the smallest part. She’s learned this about artists, a model is but a trigger for something so much more.

Outside the streets of Paris seem like another world, people aimlessly drinking coffee at the cafes below. Parisians have such a way about them, akin to their city,holding majesty of place and therefore majesty of thought.

That’s what she loved most about him, his utter belief in being who he was. Which was why in part, she knew he would not look for her today,why she would remain the painter’s model, and nothing more.

In the silent world of artists, a door opens,creaking as old as the lime washed studio walls. She chides herself, whispering not to be foolish, maintaining her stance, motionless, still.

The smell of paint grows strong as heads turn away from her, looking behind to the intruder.
Must not cry, must not cry’.

She recalls the two of them before the angry words, wrapped together, intensity of thought mixed with intensity of delight.

Hearing footsteps, she alone, is no longer the art to which the painters craze, and as her stillness breaks, he takes her gently by the hand.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hint Fiction - Free Competition

Hint Fiction
A story of 25 words or less, yes challenging!!!!

Closing date 11th October 2010.

Inspired by Ernest Hemingway's six-word story - "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Hint Fiction is not just a sentence or two taken from a larger work but rather a complete story that hints at something larger.

For entry details and guidelines inclusive of entry form see link. http://www.writingclasses.com/ContestPages/hintfiction.php

Friday, October 1, 2010

Thought for the Weekend - Blaise Pascal

For all those of you who like myself had not heard of Blaise Pascal until today, he was a french mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and philosopher from the 17th century.

I know the above, basically because I wanted to use a quote of his for one of the characters in my novel (which today has broken the 10K barrier!!!)

Anyhow I was so impressed with Blaise, that I decided to share a couple of his meaningful thoughts with you all, so here they are.

‘Let each of us examine his thoughts.  He will find them entirely occupied with the past and the future.  The present is never our purpose.  The past and the present our means; only the future is our purpose.  And so we never live, but rather hope to live and, since we are always getting ready to be happy, it is inevitable that we never actually are.’ 

He also said, 'Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth.'
A thought for our politicians and all those analysts that have taken over the airwaves!! I think I am getting to like Blaise!!
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