Sunday, January 31, 2010
I love this version of the old standard from Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews of band, Catalonia. Yes it is cold outside and we live in a cold, draughty house. I like that... somehow its more cosy. There is an enormous fireplace in the living room that would take half a tree and a wheelbarrow of coal. The cleaning of the ashes is a chore at times, and the piano always has a half inch of dust on it, but hey Scout, our beloved cat and ruler of the roost, loves the heat... so are we going to deprive her? No double-glazing, so plenty of fresh air and no electric blankets, except for guests. Diving naked into a bed of crisp cold white cotton sheets... Geronimo!
This is my second draft of 'Is it Cold Outside?' It didn't really say what I meant it to say, so here goes again. Two images startled me yesterday morning. They were small but significant, and trying to capture them with words, the way a camera does is tricky... very tricky!
IS IT COLD OUTSIDE?
He convinces from the kitchen...
N... n... not!
Wrapping... softly... fawn scarf
Around strong, dependable neck,
I spot the worm of panic and disillusionment,
Rising from behind frog-mouthed helmet...
S... s... stop!
Fleshy lips kissed,
Misplaced gauntlet retrieved.
Past stooping snowdrops,
And attacked by hope,
Odin strides with shaky purpose,
Not feigned... at least.
Aurora's encore becomes duet...
'Promise of Spring' in the key of G.
No minor keys today.
Maureen Walsh 2010 ©
I don't know about this either. Perhaps leaving alone and re-visiting might be a good idea.
Unfortunately, fox-hunting today all around us. I am an animal lover and therefore dead against hunting. Whilst the 'sportsmen' all look rather splendid in their jodphurs, jackets and splashes of red, tearing an animal to pieces is not my idea of fun. However I do understand that fox-hunting plays a huge part in the rural culture of Ireland, and I respect that. I did have a 'run in' a few years ago though, with a spectator of this so-called sport, who wanted to park his four-wheel drive outside my house. I asked him, kindly, to remove his vehicle. He proceeded to get quite heated, telling me it wasn't my land! Having poured blood, sweat and tears into a home, through years that saw a mortgage interest rate of around 19%... let's just say I was not pleased! Eventually, and without having to recourse to four-letter expletives, amazingly, he left, defeated, with his 'mane-hood' between his legs. Fox-hunt days are like funerals in our house, mainly because we have seen at close hand, the misery and torture that is inflicted upon these beautiful creatures.
I hope fox-hunters everywhere, who are sitting sipping their hot toddies have little to brag about tonight as they sit warm and cosy by flaming fires... 'out-foxed' ... hopefully!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Maureen Walsh ©
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Not once, but twice,
By felon... false and faithless,
Is never villified by Danteesque score,
Exacting explicitly everlastingly,
Maureen Walsh 24/1/2010 ©
This is neither a cause worth the fight, nor a fight worthy of the cause!
This week I raised myself up and walked out of my history!
Friday, January 22, 2010
I drove through Co. Kerry today in saffron-on-sapphire blue light misted by lemon-tinged clouds. I winked at a 'poodle' in the sky, lying in wait, ready to pounce on someone affectionately. Looking at the sky longer than I should, I smarten up and remind myself to keep one eye on the road, at least. (When I fly, I'm free to 'sky gaze' and never cease to wonder at the expressionism of nature and, in particular... clouds. I take out my lime-green 'cloud-watching' book and compete with past journeys in an effort to discover another adjective beginning with the word 'c', and in my trance-like state, I forget that two strangers from planet Earth are sitting at close quarters, when I emit... 'aha!')
The Windmills of Your Mind...... ?
Talking of going with the flow, Larry Gogan was on the radio. I hadn't listened to his programme in years, and he was playing all my favourites... Tamla Motown, Fleetwood Mac... good old fashioned dance music. I have a confession to make. I am a 'car-dancer', and unlike Irish dancing which is all about the feet, 'car-dancing', for obvious reasons, does not rely on the feet or the hands. I am in awe of people who can remain quite still while listening to, or watching their favourite bands play. That takes a tremendous amount of self-discipline. My brain compels movement. There is no pre-action thought transmission procedure... it just happens! When you think about it, a woman of my age has no other option but to take up 'car-dancing' or 'kitchen-dancing'. Where do we go, where dancing is just for 'dancing' and not seen as some kind of 'desperate housewifey' mission to 'pick up' someone.
Homer's Iliad :
Aurora now had left her saffron bed,
And beams of early light the heav'ns o'erspread,
When, from a tow'r, the queen, with wakeful eyes,
Saw day point upward from the rosy skies.
Cymon and Iphigeneia c. 1884 by Frederic Leighton - saffron suffuses the canvas at sunrise.
Now to Sapphire:
The Tree of Forgiveness
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Maureen Walsh 17/01/2010 ©
Friday, January 15, 2010
In the silence of noise,
Concrete spits back drops of rain,
And whining wires whistle word ‘ungrateful!’
From the wind of tyres…hiding
In a corner shadow, fogged by regret,
Glared at, imprisoned by paper-beeched hedges.
Signs of liquidation…rusting
Boxes no longer chalk-churned,
Windowed-eyes cracked with tears.
Soar way up over Sunday’s Well,
Winged tattling scavengers delighting in the misery of men,
Who wail a lament called ‘The Warehouse Blues’
Maureen Walsh - 15th January, 2010 ©
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Well why not? If the Queen of England can have two birthdays, why can't the plebs of Thomastown extend Christmas by another week. 'Back of the Moon' loves Christmas and the snow... wow! An extension seemed like a good idea seeing how poor Katy had missed a week of festivities because of her sojourn in hospital. Christmas is a state of mind anyway! So why fuss about dates! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it anyway. I have a friend in Dublin who has often left his Christmas decorations up until Paddy's day! That's stretching it just a wee bit perhaps, but Gerry just can't help himself... he loves a 'bit of colour!' Some people believe it's bad luck to leave them up beyond 'Little Women's Christmas'... bah humbug!
Contorted Willow - Resplendent!
This gloriously, frosty Christmas Eve lit by the second full moon of December (and 'blue' to boot!) will be remembered as one of the best. At around 11.30 pm, we headed off down the boreen and across fields, no torch required. Menfolk stepped it out ahead with dogs, while the girls lagged behind singing Christmas carols crocheted by shaky, but spirited three part harmonies. Cold-faced, but warmhearted, we floated into Christmas Day... under moon and stars.
Okay - A Cross-Dressing, Country and Western, Pipe-Smoking Snowman....AND!?!
Snow revives the child in most of us, and as we get precious little of it, there is an almost indemic panic to build snowmen, find hills to slide down... and oh... the thrill and joy to be the first to step on a sheet of virgin white. The desire to stay out longer than feet and fingers can bear the biting cold, reminds of being called into bed on a Summer evening. Complaints and pleadings that the kids next door were still outside kicking football or playing 'Simple Simon Says.....!', evaporated, unheeded.
I did paint a snowman on the left-hand side, but it was scaring us all so much I cleaned it off! - Twas reminiscent of Stephen King's 'IT!'
My neighbour and dear friend, Jim, an artist, musician, magician and lecturer of Maths at UL has promised to give me some lessons in perspective and dimension. He's got some job on his hands!
This cold spell cosies me into the world of 'Wind in the Willows' and 'Beatrix Potter.' I find myself wondering if and how the foxes, badgers, rabbits, weasels etc. etc. were warned this winter was going to be a cold one, and that they should be extra vigilant about the harvesting of hops, berries and nuts etc. Perhaps it was foreseen by the Wizards of the Night, and sanctioned throughout their domain, by the whispering breezes of an Indian Summer, and surly winds of Autumn, or by gabbing, winged returning emigrants, boasting of their epic tales from the other side of the world.
Driveway to my brother Marcus's House
I do feel a little guilty about enjoying the snow and cold so much, when animals and old folk suffer as a result. I guess it's up to us fit and able people to do what we can. On my way over to my brother's house, yesterday, I spotted two people breaking up the ice on a pond close by.
A Cornish Folk Dance?
Ducks looked on patiently. I stopped the car and asked the wonderful couple (knew by their body language!) , if I could take their photograph. On my way back, coffee taken, couple gone, the mallards were restored to their watery playground... happy once more.
Come Fly With Me, Come Fly, Let's Fly Away! (Cue for a song!)
Our Outdoor Christmas Tree - Will remain lit- up until Wednesday!
Reticent to let go of this wonderful childlike day carved out by snow, a fire was lit outside. The Finale was applauded and encored... until red, burning faces and tired, aching bodies wearied their way to bed.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Just thrown out the last of my scrumptious chicken and ham pie to feast the giggling bridesmaids of Winter, the birds! (imagine they shoot them and eat them in Italy!) They love it! Bless them! Wow... they are tangoing past the nuts and porridge oats for it...this is amazing! What a testament to my cooking! Saw about six thrushes tap-dancing this morning and are they FAT! Mind you, they were still very light on their feet. Meetings at Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous may require attendance. I get such a kick out of watching birds...they are such comedians. The black-capped pied wagtail stands there like a judge about to pass the death sentence on a sparrow which is sneaking up to rob the last crumb of pastry from under his beak, a dopey crow bounces over like Jethro from 'The Beverly Hillibillies'. ( you young 'uns wouldn't know what I was talking 'bout, but the old critters will!) The chaffinches are prissy and quaint schoolma'ams, while the greenfinches are most definitely the maffia bullies of the outfit!
Where did all the bridesmaids go? ... camera shy I guess!
With reference to earlier blog, here is the link to Fiona Shaw's recent lecture, The Michael LittletonMemorial Lecture. http://www.rte.ie/radio1/littleton/ I didn't get to hear it on St. Stephen's day. Spent most of the day and night in A & E with Kate.
It's about language and Irish theatre and it's fantastic!
Michael Littleton Memorial Lecture is a most prestigious annual public lecture hosted and broadcast by RTÉ Radio in honour of the station's late Features and Arts Editor. Previous lectures in the series have been delivered by Mary Robinson (2003 - What a lady!), Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (2004), Prof David McConnell (2005), Prof BrendanDrumm (2006) and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (2007).
It's an hour long so get comfy and enjoy. Should really do the ironing...start a 6000 word essay on Jacob Moreno...go to the gym... but hey... I think I'll just start tomorrow!
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
My Daughter, Katy's 1st Holy Communion Day
The innocence of both young and old faces!
When I studied the libretto of HMS Pinafore, a smile crept from ear to ear. Sir Joseph Porter, the Lord Admiral of the Navy takes enormous exception to the blaspemous words of Captain Corcoran and takes him to task in a song that he sings with male and female choruses. Captain Corcoran has uttered the word 'damme' to Ralph Rackstraw, an ordinary seaman, who has been discovered in his attempts to elope with the Captain's daughter, Josephine... so obviously 'above' poor Ralph's station. Gilbert and Sullivan were responsible for the Savoy Operas, satirical works about the British establishment at the turn of the 20th Century. HMS Pinafore was having a particular 'go' at the class system, the incestual nature of the upper classes and the hypocrisy of the British government. Sir Joseph Porter was supposedly based on the real Lord Admiral of that time, Mr. W.H. Smith, appointed by Mr Gladstone, who had never been to sea in his life! Gleefully, I saw this as my chance to have 'go' at the hypocrisy of this inane Irish anti-blasphemy bill.
Sir Joseph Porter ( a fictitious 'dick'!
Wish I was clever enough to stick Dermot Ahern's face onto this image!
The ladies of the chorus rush out onto the deck when they hear Sir Joseph's distress at the blaspemous words of the Captain. I decided they should carry on with them, hidden in their skirts, hand mirror-sized photos attached to pieces of two-by-one, of Dermot Ahern, which they produced, when it was their turn to join in with Sir Joseph's condemnations, ' He said 'Damme'!' There was a sea of Dermot Ahern heads on stage! I loved it, because I got it! Sadly, I don't think most people did, and even when I explained...it didn't impact one way or the other. It was like...'SO!' So ...Alex, I was delighted to discover that I have at least one fellow anti-anti-blasphemer friend! Seriously it is such nonsense. I'm really like a dog with a bone over this one. Down, Maureen, down!
Let's face it, 2009 was a dreadful, dreadful, dreadful year from a national and international perspective. On a personal level, its important to hang on to the positive and this year was a good one in many ways. I graduated from UCC with a First in Drama and Theatre Studies and a high 2.1 in Italian... chuffed about that! Directed HMS Pinafore in Clonmel ( and have been asked to direct their show in April - Oklahoma. So I must have done something right!) I continue my work in schools, my own group and my studies in psychodrama.
Received the best compliment of my life from my nephew's son, 9 year old, Daniel this year. We were extremely fortunate to have him and his 3 year old sister Thi stay with us for the Halloween weekend. What fun we had marching all over the house, 'Left... Left... I had a good job and I left!' for hours ... and hours... and hours, while the adults drank their wine by the fire! I had to go to rehearsals on the Sunday afternoon and Daniel wanted to know when 'Moejoe' (that's me) was coming home. It was suggested to him, that I was mad and his response was, 'Yeah... but she's class!' Obviously going to grow up into a man of great taste (haha!)
Tides of Change
I love to be next to the ocean at New Year... tide taking away what you want to let go of... and bringing in new adventures and dreams, new friends and new solutions to old problems. I had hoped to get to West Cork for a few days, but Katy fell off Mel on St. Stephen's day, fracturing her pelvis in two places, so that was the end of that. She's doing great, she's home from hospital and not grumbling too much about not being able to climb the beautiful snow-capped Galtees.
I need a new car, or should I say a different one. Scared of 'too new' cars. Rita (that's her name) has been acting up... preferably a four-wheel drive, so that I can take Katy right up to the edge of Lake Muskery. Get a load of this!
Innisboffin Island Mode Of Transportation
One more payment and she's mine!
Put on Sky News to check out weather conditions... Emma is flying back to London today. (She has been at home for almost a month and I will miss her constant chatter and good-humouredness.) Looking at the conditions in Britain, I was reminded of the big freeze of 1963. We children thought it was just the best fun. Cream sticking out of milk bottles like candles, burst pipes, robins coming closer than ever, ice-skating on the lake in the Queen's Park (which I'm sad to say looks more like a bomb site at the moment. It was always the one place I returned to, revisiting my 'first kiss' behind an enormous, all-seeing, all-knowing oak tree.) We had a slide running from one end of the avenue to the other. I hit my head on the road during one of my turns to 'go for it' and suffered temporary amnesia, which required medical attention. Some people might say... well...that explains it then....the madness!
Emma and I went for a last walk down the boreen with our dogs this morning and the snow covered pot-holed road positively sparkled, reminding me of the golden glitter I used to spread over the timber floor at Christmas in The House of Merlin (my shop, which is now closed), and then pictured my mother, bent over a brush, sweeping it up, as if it shouldn't be there... and I smiled!
In uniting us, as unexpected arctic conditions seem to do, it feels like a process of purification or even disinfecting is already underway, preparing us for 'a newness', a way forward, from the horror stories of recent times.
Finally I would like to wish all my friends a year filled with magic, hope and love! Let's all try to make this is a year of smiles!