Sunday, 26 October 2014

Almost end of Summer

The end of Summer is but a few days away November 5th/6th and it will be Samhain, it seems that nobody has told the Calendula or the Roses to stop flowering.

This red bush beyond the arch brightens the day. I have no idea
what it's name is.

The Calendula has jumped out of the planter
and looks to be very healthy

This delightful lady never ceases to bloom

Orange berries send me their name please ?
Just to the left of the picture is an Oak whose seed was germinated
by Colm Mac Con Iomaire a few years ago when he was recording at studio in France.
A certain  German silversmith whose name I shall not metion nearly killed it when using my strimmer, fortunately it recovered!

This blog will be exceptionally quiet for awhile. For am busily engaged writing a book for my Grandson Ollie who was four the other day and has now left his babyhood behind him.

Ollie at 4

Monday, 13 October 2014

Story for Ollie

Once upon a time in the middle of Ireland there was a great big field, an enormous field that touched the the sea on each side. 
Each of the seas were a different size, the one on the left was a little sea that touched England. The colour of this sea was bright blue and from a high flying plane a small boy was able to see boats going backwards and forwards between the two countries.

The sea on the other side was green with great big waves and nothing but wave after wave for miles and miles, though it was rumoured that after thousands of miles there was another country, but as none on this side have ever seen it - well perhaps it may not be there at all, at all!

A boy who is called Ollie was on the plane taking his Mummy & Daddy to Ireland for a holiday to see his Grandpa & Granny and  their dog Toby. It was to be a special treat for his parents as they had been ever so good to him for the past twelve months,by taking him out a weekends and running errands for him.
Ollie knew that they enjoyed going on planes for he knew that it was the quickest way of going to see Grandpa & Granny.

They flew directly to Dublin from Birmingham without having to stop on the Moon as many other planes had to when flying in from other places and planets.

Ollie had a special job to do once he got Ireland, for there was a man in the big field who owned a red tractor which was driving around and around in circles not knowing how to stop. Which is why Grandpa phoned up Ollie for his help.

It was a special help that only the two of them could do together. It involved sprinkling special dust in front of the tractor before it would stop.
Grandpa’s legs would not go fast enough to catch the tractor but he knew no one better or faster than young Ollie.

The man in the tractor was getting ever so hungry because he had been going in circles for weeks on end and had only managed to catch a few of the sandwiches that Grandpa threw at him every day. It being Ireland he wasn’t thirsty because it rained every other day and caught the rain water in a bucket and drank from it. With the remainder he was able to wash his face and clean his teeth.

Eventually Ollie’s Daddy managed to locate the car that took them to Granny & Grandpa’s very old cottage, that some people said was in the middle of nowhere; Ollie didn’t like that description very much because quite logically every where was in the middle of somewhere.
There are some very silly people about with the silliest of sayings, for as Grandpa had often said to Ollie "why even the fairies know where we live."

Granny too agreed with this sentiment for she like Grandpa was on very good terms with the Fairies. Granny was also friends with the old Wizard who lived beneath an Ash tree just along the road from them, in a large house that was bigger and older than where Granny & Grandpa lived.  
The Wizard’s house had stone stairs and low doorways. His customary greeting to the callers that he liked was ‘Mind your heads!’.
To those he didn’t like, no warning was given and when they banged their heads he would spin them around to point them in the other direction. And so they would find themselves back at home. Such was the strength of his Magic.

Granny had been to visit the Wizard to get from him the Special Dust that Ollie was to sprinkle in front of the tractors wheels to stop the engine.
There were of course careful instructions on how this was to be done, of what to carry the powder in, for it could not be anything made of metal nor could it be made of cloth. Only an earthenware bowl that had been washed in the moonlight, licked by Toby and blessed by the chief Fairy would do the job. And only Granny could carry the bowl while Ollie, using a spoon made of green holly, sprinkled the potent dust in front of the tractor wheels at noon.

Soon Ollie and Granny had done their jobs exactly to the Wizards' instructions. The tractor stopped and Grandpa helped the man down off the tractor and took him home in a wheel barrow for the poor man was totally exhausted.
He slept soundly in his bed for nine days waking only each morning as the cock crowed and then went back to sleep again. On the ninth day he awoke had his stir-about ( porridge) for breakfast and cycled on his bike to Granny & Grandpa’s cottage, where he found Ollie and gave him a big shiny red tractor all of his own.

Sunday, 5 October 2014


On October 2nd I gave an hour long poetry reading to a group of sixteen year old students from St Brendan's Community School in the library at Birr in celebration of the National Poetry Day. 

So to get them in the mood I asked them to close their eyes as I read 

"A dream is an early morning tide
softly gentle waves caress, 
the slopes of a slumbering mind. 
As rolling pebbles 
call memories ashore." 

A discussion followed about the images which the words evoked and in such a way the rest of the session was conducted.  

As a preparation for the occasion I had asked them to translate the first verse of the poem by Dónall Ó Conchúir, (Donal O'Connor 1847-1930), 'Dhá Chích Danann', in order for them to understand the background to my own poem.

'Dhá Chích Danann' -
"Maidin bhreá Fhómair dom cops mórshruth na méithbhreac
I gcoill chluthair cheolmhair is gan leoithne sna spéarthaibh,
An lon dubh is an smóilin go beolbhinn ar séideah,
Gach fás crainn go leor ann cnó buí in a slaodaibh.
Ag dearcadh whom tharam be thaitneamhach limo
Ar Dhá Chích Danann ag amharc anon
Is síbhrat na maidne leabhar leata os a gcionn,
Chomh bleachmhar buan bláfar, chomh hálainn óghchruth."

Translation 'The Breasts of Danu' -
"One beautiful morning beside the great stream of the fertile plain
In a cosy musical wood not a breeze in the sky
The blackbird and the thrush piping sweetly,
Every growing tree there hanging ripe with nuts.
Looking around me it delighted me
The two breasts of Danann
The mysterious fairy mist over them,
As beautiful as the top of the milk that nurtures the child
(As if they were created by God ?)"

Their translation was as perfect as the one that a friendly monk had done for me as he pored over each word and phrase using Dineen's dictionary. That particular dictionary, which covers the nuances of every Irish word, would make a blog post all of it's own - we shall see!

My own poem below describes my experience of hearing the monk's translation:

At a monastery kitchen table I sat
Listening to old Irish being translated
Clear distinct verse with hidden meanings
Spoken in soft tone like a blended prayer

Lulled, my mind by rhythm travelled
As this other language unravelled
So leaving a rich cream behind I flew
To a land where dreams weave anew

To sit with my back against She - Rowan
Who was clothed in milky lace so delicate
I inhaled deeply her fragrant blossom
A vapour that transmuted me to spirit

A wave that kisses the shores of Erin
The song of Amergin
A breath of hot air that ripens corn
Dew on Bealtaine's morn

A mist that caressed Anu's Paps

©MRL 05 - 03 - 2013

As we are approaching Winter I closed the session with "An Ode to Winter Gales".