Thursday, January 30, 2014

Stone Circle

Eight heads: bald, lichen-stained,
eyes closed, always listening.

One jowl-cheeked, one stub-nosed,
one with an empty eye-socket,
two with ears inclined to the earth,
another with a nasty bump,
one wearing a green skull cap,
the last, his mouth o, standing outside the circle;

all speaking in a pitch
below the range of human audibility.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Gloaming

Gloaming: that part of the day, after the sun has gone down, and before the light finally leaves the sky.
I am in the passenger seat, travelling the road from Enniskillen to Belleek, along the north shore of Lough Erne. It is in the gloaming. The sparsely lit landscape is dotted with deciduous trees standing dark and proud against the chill January sky. The sky is a dreamscape of washed out blues, greys, pinks and dons; colours on the wane. Here and there that same sky is lapping right up to the edges of the road.
By complete coincidence, I am hearing for the first time ‘The Gloaming’, the new album from the band of that name. It is as though the music was written from this very seat; it catches the mood and atmosphere of what I am seeing perfectly. Haunting, enchanting, Irish with twists, spare in parts, sometimes ECM like,  experimental; it is a marvellous fusion. Bearing in mind the personnel in the band, maybe that’s not surprising: The Gloaming is Thomas Bartlett, Dennis Cahill, Martin Hayes, Iarla Ó Lionaird, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh.
For a bit more on The Gloaming check out 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

How well do you know the art of poetry?

Here's a challenge. Assonance, similes, metaphors, idioms....................................., take  a few minutes to try this quiz, it's a bit of fun.
And let me know how you've done.

Friday, January 17, 2014

4 minutes in space

The earth; and you with eyes receiving it, and mind capable of accommodating it.   Enlarge the picture, turn up the music and lose yourself in space for just 4  min's.

Deep Blue Day is a track from Brian Eno’s 1983 album Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks which was made for a movie called Apollo. The film was later re- issued with a narration and other changes under the title For All Mankind. The video shown here features Nasa footage to Eno’s music, and is available from TheEnergyWarning channel on YouTube.

The excerpt below is from For All Mankind.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Stages of Life

Have you ever looked from a harbour, or back to a harbour, at someone you love becoming smaller as a ferry leaves; slipping from clear, close-up definition, into tininess, into a dot, gone.
Caspar David Friedrich’s allegorical painting ‘The Stages of Life’ captures just that poignancy as an old man looks out, past a family, at five ships sailing on the sea of life, finally disappearing into the hazy distance of the horizon.
There is something in that forlorn rocky shore, in  the way the huge sky dwarfs the family grouping, the chill colours of evening, the exaggerated height of the sails of the ships disappearing into the distance, in that boat upturned to look like the rocks. The ships still large in the distance, as humans are to themselves all through life, are disappearing as though they don’t quite realise it themselves. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Calling for Writers in Commemoration of John Berryman

In 2012 Dr Philip Coleman organised an all-day reading of Milton’s Paradise Lost, which featured among many others, Nobel Prize winner, Seamus Heaney. This year, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Minnesota, he is organizing a full public reading of John Berryman’s The Dream Songs, to be held in Dublin in early October. 2014 is the 100th anniversary of John Berryman's birth.
Coleman,  a staff-member of the School of English, Trinity College, Dublin (who has a book on John Berryman coming out later this year) writes:
“ I am trying to get as many contemporary poets as possible -- 77 being the ideal number -- to write a Dream Song in honour of Berryman. While my ultimate aim would be to gather the Songs together in book form I would like to have a dozen or so ready for possible publication in ‘Poetry Ireland Review’ in its Autumn 2014 issue……….……. I would like to receive the poems by the end of March 2014.”
If you have a mind to penning a Dream Song for this project, Dr Coleman can be contacted at  <>.