Saturday, December 31, 2011
To your execution,
One strike and it's done;
Befitting the hero;
The battles you've won.
Defeats, you have ushered
Through frustrated finger tips,
Fault of kisses blown hellwards
Out of bruised mortals' lips.
In the shadows, your son stands
Aloft, from your breast.
And collects severed head;
In your armour he's dressed.
He'll fight with your valour
He'll roar in your truth
So sleep well gentle Father
Son's mighty in your shoes.
Maureen Walsh - December 31st 2011
See you in the New Year
Ciao for Now!
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Trying to prepare a scrumptious stuffing and roast the perfect turkey is something I have tried to achieve for many, many years. Some years, the stuffing might be pretty tasty, but the turkey collapses, and then sometimes the stuffing isn't too hot, but the turkey still looks like a turkey; maybe a little dry, but reasonably edible. I have even watched Fanny Craddock; the original, 'not so sure' female version of Jamie Oliver,(if the voice box is anything to go by) of the 50/60's black and white TV era, and followed her(?) instructions to the letter.
I went into my local butcher, Martin in Bansha and ordered my ham and a 'boned and rolled' turkey. After much deliberation over my desire to see a turkey that looked like a real turkey, I decided that in my idealism was outdated and it was time to cop on. I was to make my own stuffing and then the expert butcher's hands would do the necessary 'strapping in'. When I called to collect the turkey, that, quite honestly, could have been pork, lamb or any other kind of whitish meat, Martin said he loved my stuffing and even asked for the recipe. 'Nice one...good start' I thought. 'This might just be THE YEAR!'
Thought I'd go with the turkey bag this year and sliced up an orange and a lemon (not quite sure where I picked up that tip) and popped them in alongside the 'slab' of turkey. OK the turkey did not look like a turkey, but when I opened the bag, the meat was moist ...delicious, and the stuffing wasn't bad either. I was rather pleased with myself and the gang seemed to thoroughly enjoy. I was looking forward to my favourite part, which was to slicing it cold and eating it with pickles and chutney on St. Stephens Day. Now this is where Buffy makes her entrance.
Buffy, our dog, who strayed into my car several years ago was put on a strict diet recently, because her digestive system is no longer able to deal with MEAT, not even OUR OWN freshly-cooked meat as opposed to the normally quite highly-rated Pedigree Chum. The vet suggested PURINA, which looks like horse nuts for all the world. She tolerates them, but makes mealtimes quite difficult for us with her sad demeanour and pleading eyes, as we tuck into steak or chicken. Buffy was not a happy camper at all!
Buffy spends her night time sleeping in either, her own cosy bed or on her own special throw that is flung onto one of the couches before going to bed. Christmas night was no exception. However, when we got up on St. Stephen's morning, we were met with disaster in the kitchen. The turkey lay on the floor, gnawed at; and my favourite oval plate was in smithereens. Buffy had GUILTY stamped all over her, and flashing like red neon lights in her eyes! Now we (and of course that should read 'I') should have moved the turkey onto the kitchen worktop or onto the middle of the dining table, and of course, it wasn't Buffy's fault. After all, she is a dog and up until recently...a carnivore!
Something tells me, that Buffy had her eye on that turkey from the moment it came into the kitchen. She had decided she had had enough of our meat deprivation order and was going to REVOLT. What better way than to make sure that none of us would enjoy the pleasure of turkey, if she couldn't! She succeeded! She spent most of St Stephens Day in Coventry, but wiled her way back into our hearts after a few disappointed hours with no cold turkey and home-made chutney lunches.
Anyway, the turkey was good. Buffy can testify to that! Ah well, it's only food!
Ciao for now!
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Wishing all my friends, fellow bloggers, followers and occasional visitors a very Happy Christmas and a very peaceful but exhilarating New Year.
Just settling down to watch MUPPETS CHRISTMAS CAROL with my family in front of a roaring fire. My heart goes out to all those who have recently lost a loved one and to anyone who feels lonely, sick or hungry.
A little Christmas poem:
Wipe your feet and just walk in
Everything's where it's always been.
Flames in the hearth, candles lit,
Pull over the chair where you always sit.
Take off your shoes, warm your toes,
There's love in your heart, the sparkle shows.
Making a wish as you close your eyes,
May it come true by early sunrise!
Maureen Walsh December 24th 2010 ©
Because Christmas just isn't Christmas for me without Christmas carols; I would like to share my all-time favourite, O Holy Night performed by Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti.
Ciao for now!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
PASSION FRUIT AND PAPAYA - A LOVE STORY
'Is there anyone sitting there?'
Said the red anorak with a smile.
'Not that I know of!'
Said a blue woollen jacket
Neat on a flowing floral skirt,
Spiced with indifference.
'I missed my bus....!'
And flushed cheeks make to sit down
On an already-taken Stephen's Green bench.
The blue, pink and mauve pansies
Fumble left to the edge....
To maintain the distance:
'Damn that bus!'
The red hood comes down
As the piercing rain gives up,
But her walls of self-preservation,
Cemented with fear.
Not content to look straight ahead;
He turns towards her.
'Fear of us!
It'll make Christmas shopping a lot easier
Anyways, as I was saying....
'Why is he telling me all this....
A perfect stranger!
Christ another orphan stone
Reaching out for.... for....!'
'I'm really a gardener....
My friends thought I was a cissy,
Because I liked growing things with my oul fella....
Yer know yourself....
Flowers and vegetables....
Oh.... and fruit!
Even papayas and passion fruit....imagine!
He had an old rickety lean-to glass-house
And a plot that ran down to the Canal.....
And the SWANS!
Jaysus, they were the best-fed swans in Drimnagh!
All the neighbours' stale bread....
My legs would be run off me!
The silence was awkward,
Even for her.
'I'm a singer....
She turned slightly towards him;
Knotted stomach untangling,
In the blue of his interested eyes.
'I haven't a note in my head,' he laughs.
'But I can whistle!'
The anorak and woollen coat both laughed;
Shoulder to shoulder,
And watched a squirrel rummaging....
Pin-striped suits striding....
Headscarves with shopping bags struggling....
Dogs on leads dragging,
Winter sun setting....
Elsie fell in madly love, that rainy evening in St. Stephen's Green, with a gardener, called Joe. Six months later, when he proposed to her, he whispered her name at least a dozen times, before admitting that even though he could not give her a ring at that time, he still had something special to give her. On bended knee, he produced two passion fruits and a papaya from his pocket: 'Elsie will you marry me? Please let these gifts of nature and fruits of my labour signify our passion for each other; that we shall never be afraid to LIVE; that we shall never satisfy the hunger for each other or Life's opportunities.' Everything excited Joe. It was both infectious and addictive.
There were never floral bouquets from Joe on opening night. No not at all. Sitting in front of the dressing table in the nursing home, Elsie recalls the reflection in the bulb-studded dressing room mirror, of not only herself, transformed into Tosca, Butterfly, and Violetta, but also that of a golden box, in which, nestled two passion fruit and one papaya ...and a card....which read: 'Still hungry Elsie!'
Maureen Walsh - December 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
For having been....
Washed out, drained;
Pegged; hanging on....
Birth pains; naked.
In pastels wrapped....
Life's sweet paint
On babe-blue mist....
Life's orange noon;
It's sunset red;
It's brights, imbetween....
Trapped by Winter,
The flags of life,
Hanging on; pegged....
Maureen Walsh - December 20l1
Ciao for now!
Monday, November 28, 2011
THE PINK WALL OF MONARD
I drove past you twice today
And wondered where the guardians of your soul;
The keepers of your pinkness
Have escaped to....
I missed your pink twice today
And wondered where the artists of your birth;
The authors of your story
Are cindered then....?
I sighed for you twice today
And wondered where the painters of your time;
The watchers of your heartbeat
Now buried in....?
I questioned you twice today
And wondered where the carers of your spirit;
The lovers of your pinkness
What home boxed in....?
Maureen Walsh - November 2011
There is a pink wall in Monard, that I have driven past many, many times on my way to Limerick over the last 36 years. Earlier today, I dropped my daughter over to Shannon Airport to catch an early morning flight back to London and found myself wondering why this wall belonging to a pink house, that had once been so lovingly 'pinked' for as long as I have lived in Ireland, was now 'greened' with damp and flaking from neglect. Many's the time, I spotted the man of the house, complete with broad-brimmed hat and braces, with a brush in his hand and a tin of of pink paint at his feet. The shades and hues might have varied from summer to summer, but the wall was always PINK, which brought a sense of joy, fun, and yet at the same time; a sense of continuity.
Today, as I despaired at the wall's neglect, (avoidable or otherwise) I found myself wondering what had happened to the man with the braces and broad-brimmed hat and his good lady wife.
When I go home to my native town, Crewe, I sometimes find myself, perhaps stupidly, pining for the old shops and streets of my childhood, that have been anihilated and replaced with shopping malls, offices or factories.
There is however, a certain amount of comfort in travelling to say a small town like Fethard in Co. Tipperary, where several old shopfronts have been maintained in all their glory.
Nothing lasts for ever, but for some reason that thought saddens me. If Sigmund Freud were still alive, he might suggest, that my sadness signifies a sub-conscious fear of being forgotten when dead and buried. Hope that doesn't mean I'm guilty of narcissism!!! Ah well....sometimes the truth hurts I guess!
Ciao for now!
Friday, November 18, 2011
'A cigarette?' he said looking into her eyes. She couldn't bear another second of his concern and sank down onto the cold, wet cement steps in front of the theatre. She wanted to avoid his blue kindness, but missed it instantly, and then hoped ... hoped that she wouldn't have to watch him walk away through grey drizzling rain, because she had disappointed again. She dare not look up, and leaning over to fiddle with the zip of her boot, she was met by the chiding glare of a ginger cat, that lived on the wall, opposite. 'What ...have I disappointed you too?' she thought. 'If only I could behave like a woman ... a grown up woman! At what point does the girl or boy become Adam and Eve?' His soft breathing floated gently into her awareness, and she thinks back to the lamb day. The lamb had become detached from the sea of ewes and young, in a nearby field. The agony of separation and isolation barbed into its distressed cries, highlighted her own pathetic inadequacies. The poor creature was eventually calmed and soothed, as one sheep, wailing and keening in its response, emerged from the grazing hundreds, to rescue and suckle once more, the wanderer. 'The familiar!' she thinks. Two knees become four, as he crouches beside her and familiar lips brush against familiar neck whispering, 'A cigarette?'
Maureen Walsh - November 2011
And speaking of lambs.... this is one of my all-time favourite songs Someone to Watch Over Me from Ella Fizgerald. I had the great honour of performing this song with the RTE Concert Orchestra some years back.
Ciao for now!
Monday, November 7, 2011
RHYTHM OF LIFE
Moving.... standing still,
Multiplying and dividing.
Worms, buried, making love...
To themselves, in the dead.
Paint.... pap'ring pavements,
And the cracks between toes
And those cells, making love....
To the others, in a bed.
To be seen, to be read.
And its words, making love....
To the thoughts, in your head.
The dangers of the darkness.
And his fears, making love....
To the rhythm, that we thread.
Maureen Walsh - November 2011
Ciao for now!
Friday, October 28, 2011
I am absolutely delighted that Michael D. Higgins is about to become the 9th President of Ireland. His victory is sweet and, in my opinion, well-deserved. He is a statesman, an academic, a humanist and an orator of the highest order. He has served the people of this nation as a politician, in an open and often rebellious manner, for decades. He ran an impeccably clean campaign throughout. His unselfish actions secured David Norris' addition to the ballot paper, so that the democratic voice of the electorate and not that of the media would be heard.
I sat in the hairdressers today and met an old friend of mine that I worked with years ago, not long after I moved to this country, but before I had my children. We laughed about some of the fiery discussions we had had back then in the canteen over tea breaks and lunch. This morning was no exception. She put forward the argument that Ireland was too small to have a President; that it was a costly non-essential; and wasn't at all enamoured about the Queen of England's visit to these shores in May of this year. I suppose what surprised the most about our discussion, was her point that Michael D was TOO old for the job, given that this seriously interesting lady is approaching or even already in her 80's. I hastened to respond that there are people running marathons at the age of 100, which makes 70 seem young by comparison. She was having none of it, but I have rarely enjoyed a trip to the hairdresser's as much. There were seven of us ... seven women debating the whys and wherefores of the presidential election; Mike Murphy's interview with Bertie Aherne; Vincent Browne, the master choreographer etc etc. Not a word about fashion, or make-up, or the X Factor! The atmosphere in the hairdressers was charged; filled with good-humoured debate, and it was great great fun! I only went in for a trim, but I came out feeling I'd done the whole spa thing.
Granted, polls had indicated that Sean Gallagher was galloping towards to the Park up until Wednesday, and that it just might have been the little bitty prodding given to Mr Gallagher's memory about a certain little bitty brown envelope by Martin McGuinness, that finally ensured Michael D's victory, but Mr. Gallagher was made aware of the unscrupulous dealings of the envelope's donor over recent weeks, and given the fact, that this was the final presidential debate, he was ill-prepared to answer some of the key questions that were raised. Perhaps naively, Mr Gallagher overlooked the fact that the people of this island are ALLERGIC to little bitty brown envelopes!
Michael D is NOT TOO OLD for this job, as long as Michael D believes he is NOT TOO OLD for this job!
While I was writing this blog, a song, that I used to listen to as a child by Burl Ives came to mind called A Little Bitty Tear Let Me Down. A slight adaptation might read: A Little Bitty Brown Envelope Let Me Down. (I am NOT gloating. The right man got the job ... that's all!)
Ciao for now!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Silver sand-wormed rocks,
Trapped in the stench of stagnant;
Appreciate the strains of wings and wind.
But bereft of distant whitening waves,
They smile still, in their abundance of neglect.
The hope of lunar intervention abides
That yet might change the orchestration.
So that a rising tide from Venus' baton
May swell these porous, almost forgotten
With breathy, bubbling, boiling pride
To hum, to sing, to laugh, to whistle ...
To love with you as you live YOUR SONG.
Maureen Walsh - October 2011
And talking about songs and arias. This is sheer magic! Angela Gheorgiu singing Depuis le Jour from the opera Louise by Charpentier. Even if you're not an opera buff, you will appreciate the gorgeous melody and divine singing from one of the world's greatest living sopranos. Please give it a whirl and click on the link below.
Ciao for now!
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Your hand reaches out to someone beyond me.
A date you'd arranged years ago?
Perhaps an old love;
Their madness forgiven.
As your ribcage rises for that final sigh,
And your days of crazy are ended.
The voyage you have lived for,
In death now, begins.
I miss your crazy, when I'm in my own.
I should have asked more questions.
You birthed me, then you nagged:
'It's late love, just go home!'
I wanted to walk; see you safely onboard;
To tell them that you hate to drive too fast.
I dearly hope they KNOW you.
I wish that I KNEW more.
Maureen Walsh - October 2011
I heard this song by Kate Melua on the radio the other day, while I was arranging flowers for James and Melanie's wedding, yesterday. I had forgotten how much I like it!
The older I get, the more I think we are all more than a little crazy! The older I get, the more I realize that rationale is a fool!
Ciao for now
Saturday, September 24, 2011
They are screaming 'let go'!
He does hear it ...
His brain computes it,
And God, how he is trying ...
To follow the path ...
Born of youth, years ago.
His resolve is steeloid ... mostly.
Head down ... senses reasoned.
But when the wind subdues a ticking head
And the ocean kickstarts stodgy heart,
Resolve teeters on the brink of dissolution.
And the unexpected is all it takes
To feed the killer rocks below.
He smells their hunger;
He hears their laughter.
But, today, just today,
He's not courting lies;
Not sharing their jokes.
From the cliff edge he erupts:
'Today, I hold on ...
I'm not letting go!'
Maureen Walsh - September 2011
Lovely wind again tonight! Love, love, love it! Almost as good as 'letting go' of anger, resentment and the disappointment of wasted opportunities!
Ciao for now
Monday, September 19, 2011
I have at least five blogs half-written. For the life of me, I can't seem to get down to finishing them.That might just be, because my feet nor my mind have been in the same place for more than a couple of days over most of the summer. As much as I love being busy, doing the whole hostess and caring thing, I find myself yearning for sometime just not to have be anywhere, or have to talk to anyone. And just as I head back into school and the forthcoming production of Oliver in November, being stranded on a desert island just for a few days sounds like a pretty good idea. Then of course, as soon as I've said that, I know how ungrateful that might sound. But hey then I remind myself that this is MY blog, and therefore surely a little self-indulgence is not totally unexpected or unacceptable. After all I'm only human and therefore destined to be imperfect and as changeable as the weather. Which brings me gloriously to the incandescent brilliance of Autumn. Can't believe its that time of year already.
Autumn was so obvious as I walked through Russell Square in London last week, because there is more of an appetite for deciduous trees in the UK than in Ireland. Watching grey squirrels nibbling on acorns, foraging through fallen sycamore, horse-chestnut, beech leaves, and gnawing at, or filing their teeth on, what looked like human bones, only a foot or two away from me, in London's Bunhill Fields burial ground, where John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim's Progress (the number of translations second only to the Bible) is buried, was captivating, but creepy. There is something spellbinding in the 'crunching' created by shoe or boot meeting dry fallen leaves; the Autumn winds that rustle through the trees like petticoats along the halls and corridors of years gone by; and the lonely rattling sound produced by those same winds of Autumn as they blow across narrowing metal flagpoles, which trick you into believing you are onboard a sea-faring vessel.
I spent most of last Sunday outside in my garden, tidying and pruning back shrubs and all kinds of everything. The wind was warm and the air, after London, was so fresh. It was one of those days, that I felt in tune with everything around me. Sometimes, I am almost afraid to register those moments, in case I lose them. On the other hand, if I don't share my sense of joy and wonder, am I not guilty of not appreciating the gifts that being a part of this Universe brings. Even the greatest poets and artists can struggle to find their words and their hues of colour. Perhaps, I should acknowledge those moments of blissful being 'out loud' within myself and smile outwardly! For the lesser of us, by the time we have struggled to say, or not to say, the right words that are 'hot' enough, the moment has passed. Sharing a smile with ourselves and/or with another might just be a more spontaneous and therefore less contrived response to something that sets us on fire.
Maybe, I shouldn't have written anything. Just let these photos smile for me!
Alison Krauss sings 'When You Say Nothing At All'
Ciao for now!
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Just back today from a week's holiday on the Dingle Peninsula. Stayed in the hamlet of Bally na nGall 10kms from Dingle. What a stunning week and took some great pics too. Will blog later in more detail. For now, a few lines that swam around for a day or too!
Bend me then,
As you fold in two
The sparse but stubborn switch
At the cliff edge of Foreigners.
Play me then,
As you rearrange
David's drift and seashell
in one swelling tidal chess move.
Fire me then,
As you roast the Ogham stones
And the blue, stained red, once
With the blood of Brendan's feet.
Wash me then,
As you paint white sheets and sails
In the yellow of a Spanish sunrise
Or the purple of a Viking sunset.
Maureen Walsh - August 2011
Ciao for now!
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Quite some time since I ranted politically. Its not that I have become cynical ...exactly; perhaps just less naive. The media circus which surrounded the last Irish general election and its aftermath, reminded me more of a World Cup Soccer or Rugby Campaign. The fact that Ireland was probably facing its greatest, most dramatic challenge since the civil war was given the lightest entertainment treatment possible. I found myself looking at and listening to Vincent Browne, and in particular, during his much-publicised TV skirmish with Conor Lenihan, asking myself just how sincere any of this really was. Once the election was done and dusted, Queen Elizabeth popped over the English channel for a visit. I didn't get to see any of the TV coverage of her stay here, but the picture below, which shows her sharing a joke with a chap on the fish stall in the English market in Cork is an absolute joy. I thought it rather poignant, that the death of Garret Fitzgerald, unquestionably, one of Ireland's most honourable political leaders, should coincide with this momentous piece of history-making, when as Taoiseach, he co-signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement with British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher in November 1985
The Summer has not brought much in the way of sunshine and has served up more than its fair share of bad news stories. Surprise, surprise NAMA is in billions of trouble; Barrack Obama appears to be in an almost inevitable downward spiral of support, given the unrealistic messiah-like expectations, that were pinned upon him in the first place; Libyans and Syrians are being slaughtered because they have a different opinion about how they want their country to be governed; thousands of African children are starving in the worst drought for 20 years; a 32 year old, Norwegian right-wing extremist, who hates muslims, Breivik, massacred approx 80 innocent young people, who came together to share an adventure; several towns and cities in Britain have been under seige from rampaging hooligans, whose reasons, for their abominable behaviour, range from not having jobs, money, a severe lack of hope in a better future, and racial hatred. The latter of these justifications was seen in all its stark reality as three muslims were mowed down by a single car and killed in Birmingham during the week. Would be easy for some to blame this kind of trouble solely upon those, who don't know any better, because they are badly educated or as some would like to believe, a product of one-parent or unemployed and quite often 'ghettoized' families etc etc. However, it would appear not to be quite as simplistic as that, when it is reported, that law students, accountants, would-be social workers, and an Olympic ambassador are standing in the dock alongside an eleven year old child. Difficult enough as it is, to remain cheerful and optimistic during these cloudy, challenging times, I have had a busy, but delightful Summer so far, even if the thermometer has rarely tipped 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rose and Richie's Wedding (My daughter Katy right of bride)
I spent two weeks in the UK minding my brother's house, his dog, Harry, his 21 hanging baskets and looking after my father's garden and gorging myself, once more, on scones, clotted cream and jam; and of course, fish and chips. As soon as I got back home, I was into Drama Workshopping, which was work, but nevertheless magical, because I had buckets of fun with new little friends. Then my 'adopted daughter', Rose got married to the hugely charismatic Corkman, Richie. Rose was in the same class at school as my eldest daughter, Emma, and became an extended part of our family from the tender age of five. We have dragged her up the Galtee Mountains in all kinds of weather, across fields and beaches, and she comes over to our house every Christmas for a piece of carrot cake (recipe cajoled from Spillane's Bar, Maharees, Co. Kerry) that I bake especially for her and Katy.
The Walsh Family and our bestest friend and 'adopted son', Chris Kelly all got a job to do for Rose and Richie's wedding. Katy was a bridesmaid, Emma sang in the church at Kilfeacle, and I arranged her wedding flowers, with the help of my two goafers, Tony and Chris. Without exaggeration, it was quite possibly the most beautiful wedding, I had ever had the pleasure to be invited to. Of course, Rose calls me her 'second mammy' and we are of course, very close, but it was more than that. In the present climate, just as the priesthood and religious institutions are getting a bit of a bashing, and quite rightly so, in many cases, came along a priest, called Father Moloney from Cashel, who caused the Summer sun to shine so so brilliantly in Kilfeacle Church, as he officiated at Rose and Richie's wedding. Every word that fell from his lips was filled with the most genuine love and humility, which was projected passionately but calmly on a beautifully warm, resonant speaking voice. He captivated everyone in the congregation that day. He was everything and more I had ever imagined a genuine pastor to be.
Rose's Wedding Bouquet
(Someone took this picture of Rose's wedding bouquet, and I'm throwing it in, because I am rather proud of it.)
I am told that I am an idealist and a romantic, but I believe that when a couple walk down the aisle, they are convinced that their love will last until death and beyond. In Rose and Richie's case, from the first moment we saw them together, there was no doubting that here was a couple, who were destined to be together. The speeches at the wedding feast were both heartfelt and funny. Richie said that Rose was the love of his life and Rose said that Richie made her laugh every day. May they love and laugh every day of their lives together!
Rose and Richie. Great Fancy Dress people!
Well the wedding is over, so is the Summer almost! We were graced with Phil the pheasant for some weeks, but he has gone on walkabout; probably checking out the barley and wheat in surrounding fields. Sincerely hope he's not ended up on a neighbour's dinner table. Back to things political for just a moment.
I'm glad that Gaybo has decided to pull out of the race for the office of President, because I think he might have upset the apple cart for Michael D. Higgins. There can be no doubt, that Gaybo with all his sensitivities, was and is one of Ireland's very best broadcasters, but Michael D. Higgins gave up an academic career, to serve the people of this nation as a politician, and has done so for decades; standing up for what he believes in, against all odds. I stood in the council chambers in Clonmel, where the Labour Party was formed in 1912, during the last General Election campaign, and listened to Michael D. speak. I had always admired and respected him, as I had done Garret Fitzgerald, but to listen to him in the flesh was quite something else. I sincerely hope that Michael D., as he is affectionately known, makes it all the way to the Park. He deserves it and will be a worthy recipient of the baton that has lain in the very capable hands of Mary McAleese, and Mary Robinson before her.
The moon is shining cheekily tonight, as if she has a secret to tell, and my garden is silent and still after a day of sweet birdsong and soft summer rain.
Heard the track below on the radio recently and was surprised to discover that Paul McCartney was singing a song penned by comedian, Steve Martin. Steve Martin is also playing the banjo in the piece. Not just a funny, funny man! It's called quite simply Best Love. Hope you enjoy!
Monday, July 25, 2011
The untimely death of singer/songwriter and musician, Amy Winehouse last Saturday, has shocked the music business and her global network of fans. Sadly, she has become an honorary member of the 27 CLUB; a group of supremely talented individuals, who lost the war, prematurely, against their demons at the age of 27. The list of outstanding curtailed talents includes names like Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and River Phoenix.
The song, REHAB was my first introduction to Amy Winehouse, and I was immediately captivated by the deep velvety tones and quality of a voice, that was reminiscent of Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington; an old-school sound with lyrics, pertaining to the 21st Century. She hit the music scene just at the right moment. The public were tiring of electronically-enhanced versions of the art of singing; of performing. There had been a glut of sugary girl/boy bands, that lacked any real substance and precious little soul, which, with perhaps the odd exception, will almost, certainly not, withstand the passage of time. There hadn't been a female artist that could REALLY sing since Alison Moyet, and now, of course, singer/songwriter Adele, who is mesmerizing listening audiences with her phenomenal singing of soulful songs that she has penned herself; about herself.
Amy was an enormously gifted young person, who was probably born with a pre-disposition for addiction. It was well-reported in the media, that her inability to cope with the pressures of a rock and roll lifestyle and the runaway success of her second album, in particular, led her to fall under the bewitching spell of drugs and alcohol. These habits, disguised, at first in friendship, which promoted relaxation and recreation, slipped off its cloak of amiability, sneakily and craftily, they finally destroyed her.
Her appearance in Belgrade, Serbia, which was part of her comeback tour, was absolutely pathetic to witness. She was totally incoherent and hadn't a clue what country she was in. For the life of me, I cannot understand, how her minders could allow her to go out on stage in such an abysmal state. She was only a waif, and was in no way able to put up a fight, and could have been dragged out of that theatre, and strapped into a hotel or hospital bed. The plug was pulled on the tour, but no-one could argue that this disasterous appearance, that should NEVER NEVER have happened, did not contribute in some way to her accidentally overdosing or making a conscious decision to end her life, last weekend.
Some of the reactions to the self-distructive exhibition in Belgrade were severely unkind and unsympathetic, but nevertheless understandable. Somehow, it is easier for people to empathise with those suffering with heart disease or cancer, even though alcoholism to take one addiction, is recognized as a DISEASE by the World Health Organisation. I came across a poem five and a half years ago, whilst in rehabilitation myself, for alcoholism, which captures the torture and the isolation of addiction. I apologize for not knowing who wrote this poem, in advance, and should someone recognize the following piece, as their work ... their outpourings of grief and despair, I can only thank you from the bottom of my heart for its inspiration.
I AM YOUR DISEASE
I am your disease,
You know who I am - you've called me your friend.
Wishes of misery and heartache I send,
I want only to see that you're brought to your knees,
I'm the devil inside you,
I am your disease.
I'll invade all your thoughts,
I'll take hostage your soul.
I'll become your master, in total control.
I'll maim your emotions,
I'll run the whole game,
'Til your entire existence is crippled with shame.
When you call me I come, sometimes in disguise,
Quite often I'll take you by total surprise.
But take you I will and just as you feared,
I want only to hurt you with no mercy spared.
If you have your own family, I'll see it's destroyed,
I'll steal every pleasure in life you've enjoyed.
I'll not only hurt you, I'll kill if I please;
I'm your worst living nightmare;
I am your disease.
I'll bring self-destruction, but still you can't tell;
I'll sweep you through heaven, then drop you in hell.
I'll chase you forever wherever you go
And then when I catch you, you won't even know.
I'll sometimes lay silent, just waiting to strike,
What's yours becomes mine, cos I take what I like.
I'll take all you own and won't care who sees;
I'm your constant companion;
I am your disease.
If you have any honour, I'll see it's destroyed,
You will lose all your hope and forget how to pray.
I'll leave you in darkness and while blinding you stare;
I'll reduce you to nothing and won't even care.
So don't take for granted, my powers sublime
I'll bend and I'll break you time after time.
I'll crumble your world with the greatest of ease;
I'm that madman inside you;
I AM YOUR DISEASE
I am one of the lucky ones! Thankfully, I dug myself out of alcoholism and the extra crushing shame and guilt, that comes with being a WOMAN and a MOTHER, by finally forgiving myself! Without that, I would still be in hell or dead, or perhaps, even worse still ... alive, but without the love of my beautiful family and friends. I am so so grateful, that I never think about, or indeed crave for, a drop of something out of a glass or bottle, to sigh with or to glow with! I hope my admitting to being an alcoholic, albeit in recovery, does not offend. I thought long and hard about it, but somehow, my paying tribute to Amy Winehouse, without mentioning my own addiction, seemed dishonest. It might be argued, that each and every one of us suffers from one form of addiction or another, that might not necessarily manifest themselves in the same way as alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, food, or sex do. Examples of those might be: perfectionism; workaholism; a need to control. By the same token, the diagnosis and prognosis of addiction, like any other disease or illness, should be discussed openly and frankly in the public arena.
I only wish that Amy Winehouse and thousands like her could have been saved. I just hope that wherever she is singing now, she is at peace!
BACK TO BLACK - AMY WINEHOUSE