Keeping my eyes on their toes.

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I have a favorite walk not far from where I live that never disappoints.The sand track, running parallel to the beach, appears mundane initially but on closer inspection, throws up such treasures that it keeps me ‘on my toes’ or rather keeps my eyes on their toes (If such a thing is possible.)20160104_090516

Everything on my morning walk

deserves regard,

ask the skeleton of the wild carrot

why it stops me in my tracks,

becomes a work of art.

look how it raises its hands in supplication

As though humbly begging the sky to pay it some attention.

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Last Sunrise of 2015(Not quite a Haiku)

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In a country that experiences as much rain as Ireland does, especially in the winter, to witness the perfect sunrise on the last day of the year is indeed a rare phenomenon.

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THE LAST SUNRISE OF THE YEAR

~~~~

Checking that the rain is gone,

The sun

hauling itself over the horizon 

is applauded by a single wave

A perfect Grand finale 

The Devils glen (An Gleann Mór) A poem through pictures.

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Many years ago, to celebrate finishing my nursing studies, A friend and I cycled to wicklow. It was the first time I really thought about how far one could get on a bicycle. We had no plan and no map, just followed the local signposts.

Now wicklow is a very mountainous county and our bikes being single speed often meant getting off and pushing them over hilly terrain but every morning we rose from our youth hostel beds with renewed determination not to be deterred by any road just because of a steep incline.

One morning, our curiosity aroused by the name on the signpost, we made our way along the steep road to the devils glen. Recently I returned there for a walk.

It started out innocently enough.

Purely to clear the cobwebs of the last week.

A woodland walk of

trees, bushes, ferns, a leafy path, a wandering river, some dappled sunlight, a wooden bridge,

the usual sort of foresty stuff.

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Wait!

did I say wooden bridge!

I step warily across

waiting to be accosted

by the voice of childhood past

‘Who dares to go trip tropping across MY bridge’

Says the angry troll, goblin, leprechaun

(take your pick)

‘it is just I’

My voice trembles or maybe it’s the bridge as

I trip across safely.

and ahead is there a story?

about a girl who dared pass under a fallen rock

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I hold my breath and try to remember

but make it safely under all the same

and travelling onward without looking back

(I don’t fancy being turned into a pillar of salt).

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along Yeats-like stolen paths

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to the waterfall

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not quite as astounding as glencar

but just as mesmerizing.

I sit and watch it thunder

until the day grows dark

and watchful

then back through the rock

and over the bridge I run

Hold on!

I don’t remember passing

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the alice in wonderland tree

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or the sleeping beauty castle.

the end.

The devils glen is named so by the victorians because they likened the noise of the waterfall to the roar of the devil. The Irish name for it is An Gleann Mór. p.s the last two photos are from the glen o’ the downs walk I braved later.

 

At loss for words in summer.

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A while ago i wrote of how

i was filled with words 

but something has happened since then

 and now

it’s my heart that’s full

(my brain has emptied)

i no longer want to speak 

or even write since summer has arrived 

Instead I want to leave those jumbled words behind

and go

where wildflowers grow haphazardly in soft purple ditches

where rushes whisper by lonely lakes and white bog cotton shyly dips

her wispy head among rows of darkened turf

and clouds are of importance

where blue shadowed mountains are mysterious and beckoning

where the singing sea is soothing 

where i can be silent and wandering

i will go there soon enough 

soon enough

soon

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On Words

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I occurred to me this morning.

It is lucky I love words

because

I am filled to the brim with them.

even as I wake they are up before me

(At night I go to sleep before them)

And as quickly as I spit them out

I fill up with more

So I have two blogs on the go

(One for stories

another for poetry)

I plaster words on paper, type them on my laptop

and still they come

I would have thought I’d have run out by now.

Maybe I should meditate instead

On Judging.

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 I can be hard on myself and judgemental too. Berating myself when I fall down on my writing or painting. The last year has been one of the busiest I remember (I count my year from spring to spring) It has been filled to the brim. I wonder how it went so fast and I ponder over what I achieved.  Then it occurs to me, how silly! 

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As the tide doesn’t measure

or judge the grains of sand it covers 

I look back over the year

And try not to judge or keep count 

of the good or not so good 

Then smiling

I note

It was mostly good. 

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April Showers and apple blossoms

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Another shower

a run for cover

cold coffee to be continued in the shelter of the glass house

and then its over

the sun strikes the first apple blossom

I pick up the wet handled shovel and turn another sod

make another lazy bed*

Make hay while the sun shines.

* A ‘lazybed’ is a traditional way of planting spuds particularly in the west of ireland where the soil can be very thin above the rock. It is an ingenious affaire. Starting on a patch of grass, mark out the length and width of your bed with cuts from the shovel. The length depends on the size of your plot but the width is important (It needs to be approximately one and a half metres wide at the start)  Manure or seaweed is placed down the center directly on the grass and your potatoes zigzagged on top of the manure. Then you lift the sod from each side and cover the spuds neatly. If you get a nice angle, the sod will fit together exactly, sealing in the spuds. The grass rotting underneath adds heat and extra manure and encourages the spuds grow quickly and strongly. Its a great way of breaking up new ground too.

Broad Beans.

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Holding a packet of seeds

I read ‘broad beans’

and tearing off the top I pour them into my hand

where they lie

brown and leathery like miniature purses

filled only with hope

for who would believe inside each withered case

is the makings

of a green and leafy stalk

and flowers

which

when visited by a bee

will set and behind each falling flower

a tiny pod

and growing all the while

till four or five plump beans

are ready for my plate.

So

I lay them one by one

reverently into the soft damp soil

if there is a prayer

to start them on their journey

I have already said it with my wonder.

SPRING.

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SPRING.

I would tell you to put your ear to the ground

but you would say it is too cold

The birds hear it first

they are of course more in tune than us humans

with our ears clogged 

by traffic and digital fuss and constant

bombardment of mechanical sounds

its far away yet

but approaching bit by bit 

treading cautiously, stepping lightly

marching to an earthly beat

listen! can you hear it? 

then,

losing the run of itself

shooting madly exuberantly even 

all hell breaks loose as

up through the cold clay 

fierce and tiny  green swords

fight their way

en garde!

Look! the buds are breaking now

the grass is greener

the birds louder

are they snowdrops there?

and just when i think i can bear winter no more 

spring is here.

 

Planting tree’s

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Now that i want to plant trees

the sound of the wind is no longer enjoyable.

now that i want to plant tree’s

the thought of snow is intolerable

Now that i want to plant trees

the rain on the roof is annoying

bare rooted in the shed,

tai haku (great white cherry)

three apple a pear and a plum

Lie patiently waiting for a change

gentle rain is all i can allow now

followed by winter sun

Monets sky.

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I thought I had come upon a painting as I rounded the corner and  the skies cleared.  The old boat on it’s last legs making a poignant picture and a good place to shelter too from the unexpected shower (When cycling in the west of Ireland, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for such places )

MONETS SKY

~

keeled over

on your knees

your days are done

you wait resigned

(as I wait out the passing shower)

for rust and rot

not an easy death

do you miss the water lapping at your bow?

but look how the sky is overhead

Monet! you could have painted this.

Instead

you touched the ancient beams in sympathy

and I shelter by your side

waiting for the rain to clear

~

The Map Reader.

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Am I repeating myself when I say,  I love to go exploring in the wilds of the west of ireland and would do so very irresponsibly. Just heading off where the wind takes me on my yellow bicycle, hauling it across bogs and ditches with only the sun and the mountains as my guide.

An odd time a friend will accompany me, a friend with a MAP! Oh how I laugh at his careful responsible ways

p.s this poem is NOT meant to rhyme, its suppose to be wild and irresponsible like its author. 

THE MAP READER.

Forget your cars and motorcycles.

Forget your google maps and ipods

and choose the quiet of a bicycle

Just head away..

Take a road, the smaller the better

(she tries to untie a gate but ends up lifting her bike over)..

‘lose yourself for goodness sake!

(she is standing wild haired on the top of a mountain)

‘where is your sense of adventure’

she cries,

(one foot now stuck in a bog hole).

How lovely to be wild and free

(there’s barbed wire caught around her wheel)

and carrying her bike across the lake

once more cries out

‘for goodness sake

get out the ordnance survey map’…

fin.

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Swimming through clouds.

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Once I cycled along the coast and turned off at a bridge and followed a small bog road which ended at this calm lake.

It was only after I had swum across it (and through these clouds) that I heard that a monster lurked in it’s depths! Who would have thought it? It looks such an innocent lake, though it does seem to be causing the clouds some confusion.

After my swim I sat for a while contemplating its calmness and jotted down this tiny piece of poetry, so simple it was hardly worth the jotting of, a poetical experiment so to speak.

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 Sometimes

clouds

get confused

cumulus confusicus

~

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Then I cycled home….