Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Flaws in Democracy

I've been thinking over the flaws in democracy; these points apply to different extents in different countries. 

·         The choice open to us at elections does not span the range of political opinion.

·         There is no genuine debate on what is best for citizens as adherents to a particular party frequently have no wish to engage with opposing views.

·         Debate among political parties tends to concern itself with providing opposition rather than being in any way constructive.

·         Mass media is used to indoctrinate or win over electors with sound-bytes rather than considered argument. Similarly recruiting celebrities to support a party is  barely more  than an exercise in cajoling the electorate.
·         The public have limited say in the externally imposed conditions, and international powers that national governments must satisfy or oblige.

·         Powerful advisors are faceless to the general public and we are not made aware of the activities of lobbyists.

·         We elect parties on the basis of promises and policies that are blatantly reneged on after the election.

·         We are frequently fed spurious facts and data, or we are given spin, or treated to barely disguised obfuscation.

·         Governments frequently overrule the popular opinion of the people.

·         Leaders frequently refuse to accept responsibility for mistakes, and almost never apologize.

·         Loyalty to the party generally outweighs loyalty to the people. The party whip system frequently prevents a member from following his/her own principles.

·         We are asked to vote simply yes or no on treaties which often have multiple strands, each of which deserves separate consideration.

    ·         Governments find expedient ways of flouting their own laws.

·         The system does not appear to be conducive to female representation.

·         Money spent  is often the crucial determinant in winning minds.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wyeth: Magic and Poetry

Tell All The Truth
Tell all the truth but tell it slant,
Success in circuit lies,
Too bright for our infirm delight
The truth's superb surprise;  

As lightning to the children eased
With explanation kind,
The truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.

Real beauty in eight lines by Emily Dickinson, and a message to all would-be poets.  And, as in poetry in art. Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting ‘Christina’s World’ has, perhaps, been reproduced once too often, but it has what makes the magic: a suggestion or more, and the space for the viewer to go in search of it.
Similarly, Snow Hill, in which subjects from a lifetime’s painting dance around a maypole on a page-white landscape; the landscape Wyeth lived and painted in. But is this a gently tongue in cheek retrospective of his paintings, a magical counterpoint of a May scene in deep winter, or a poignant reflection on the lives he shared and painted over the course of his life? 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Give Me

Give me
Gucci or Prada,
Louis Vuitton,

Give me
Cartier or Rolex;
Because I’m worth it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Audio Piece on The Roscommon Anthology

Conor Reynolds' audio piece features  excerpts from interviews with kevin Hora, John Waters and myself. Also included is a reading by one of Ireland's finest poets, Patrick Chapman, and singer Noel O'Grady, both recorded at the Dublin launching of The Roscommon Anthology on Thursday 28th November 2013 in the Uppercross House Hotel, Rathmines.


Sunday, December 8, 2013


A dot: curious, stirring. 

A fleck: moving, creating. 

A fly: forming, inflating.          

A rock: swelling, building.          

A truck: bulging, looming, 



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Shannon Memory

Revisiting Lough Ree    

Morning comes colourless;
trees stoop to the lake like pilgrims
witnessing images that are riddles in the water.
A sudden shriek. “Over here, no here, over here."
I see nothing; the lake keeps its children chilled
in ice buckets among the reeds. 

Once I trailed a ripple from a boat
that bevelled this water. I remember the oars'
loud soft thud, slap till I die.  

It was June. Insects teemed on the  surface.
The sun, that tanned our backs, lulled the countryside
into sleep before the fields were even cranked.
My father was there. 

Now December. The lake drags its cutlery
through this cress-green landscape
with an indifference that leaves memories shivering.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Roscommon Anthology Comes Home

This Friday The Roscommon Anthology comes to Roscommon on the final leg of its tour; 6.30pm in the Bank of Ireland. Brian Leyden will launch the book with support from Seamus Hosey, Seamus Dooley and others.
Vincent Woods featured the anthology on his Arts Tonight show tonight; the excerpt includes brief interviews with Leyden, John Waters, John O'Dea and myself reading The After-Mass Men, (Sabne, I don't have a reading on YouTube, will get to it sooner or later) Here's a link to the programme; the Roscommon Anthology section begins 25mins in.