Sunday, December 28, 2014

CIRCLES AND CYCLES






When I was a little girl, I loved to draw circles and then colour them in with crayons....wax ones preferably. As I got older I began to throw in the odd triangle or two, but mostly it was always circles. Something more optimistic about circles somehow. I find myself drawn towards doorways, cars, buildings, gardens, flowers, tiles, stories, etc that have curves. Angular 'things' without a curve at some point just don't sit right.

Listened to a song today, which brought me straight back to those hour upon hour meanderings and explorations of circles and their endless possibilities and whether I would be balancing on the curve like a tight-rope walker, or dancing in the purple wax of the inside, or swimming in the red on the outside,

As I listened, I realized I am still drawing circles and colouring them in; and even though I have no idea where I'm going, or perhaps even, to where I am being led; I know I'm going somewhere and that felt good.






Ciao for now!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

HAPPY CHRISTMAS 2014





Wishing all my lovely family and friends a very Happy Christmas and Peaceful and Prosperous 2015





CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING


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 ©




Some Music for Christmas

Luther Vandross wishing us all a Merry Little Christmas






And one of my very very favourite recent old school pieces of the moment. Such feel good funky music to help get rid of the Christmas pud!





And last but not least a piece of music that I heard for the first time last January at the funeral of a very dear friend of mine, Nora, who was one of the most beautiful, funniest and bravest women that I had the good fortune to know. Was introduced to this version of Joni Mitchell singing her own song as a more mature woman in July and have been moved to tears several times listening to it since then. 'I could drink a case of you.....' Great great lyrics! 








ciao for now! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

EMPTY SPACES





EMPTY SPACES


Just a fixing of eyes or smile it takes
To meet an expectation of the lowest.
A whole life in a whole day is at stake
And even the lion's roar with convincing prowess
Of snarl...of mournful bellow; less invisible makes,
And fills those empty spaces with sweeter promise.



Maureen Walsh - December 2014








Ciao for now

Saturday, December 13, 2014

AM I STILL ALIVE ?






AM I STILL ALIVE ?



He asked the question 'Am I still alive?'
Why,,,,when he felt the coldness of concrete step
Under his bloated....matted head.
Why....when he felt the wrath of the winter wind
Slashing his fading....wasting will.
Why ask the question 'Am I still alive?'

In the dark, in a door way, another poem stirred
And quickly put to heart, if it's ever to be heard.
Daylight is restored, and a whiff of sanity
Enough to set those words down; give them....authority.

He asked the question, 'Am I still alive?'
Why....when he felt the vicious kick of steel-capped boot
Joycean glasses smashing against his one last tooth
Why....when his nostrils filled with petrol's stench
In flames his charring body on that bloody lonely bench
Why ask the question 'Am I still alive?'




Maureen Walsh - December 2014







Ciao for now!




Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DISTRACTION








DISTRACTION

Distraction this time wrapped richly in mink
No thoughts of mortgage....just cheeks brushed with pink.
Distraction next time laced loosely by pearls
No thoughts of the wife, the dog or the girls.
Distraction time after smoothed softly on silk
No thoughts of the job, or the Audi on tick.
Distraction last time tied tightly with gems
No thoughts of tomorrow, the 'hows' or the 'whens'.


Maureen Walsh - December 2014



And now for a distraction of a completely different kind. A beautiful Christmas song from the inimitable Joni Mitchell....RIVER

.





ciao for now!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

CHERISH.....






CHERISH....


I built my house beside your wood
So that I could hear you sing.
Think of that song's delight at dawn
That thrilled again as darkness fell
But still I should have cherished more 
The beauty of that song and you.

So now my house in silence stands
And separate we, three thousand miles.
Another soul out of tune with yours
Has built their hut beside new wood.
But might you forgive, return once more
I'd learn how to sing the songs you sing.


Maureen Walsh - November 2014






Ciao for now!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

CHILDLINE NEEDS OUR HELP






I have never felt so disenchanted by any government....ever! What has been happening in this country over the last few months is an absolute disgrace. This is a Government that is completely and utterly out of touch with the people it is supposed to represent. I would have thought that after the hammering it got in the local and European elections, it might have seen the light, but sadly it has not. There has been one fiasco after another, after another. The water charges was just the last straw. I think most people, if they are honest, realize that there has to be a charge for replacing, repairing and maintaining an efficient and clean water supply. There has been so much confusion around costs to households, call-out charges and even worse, quite unforgivable bullying and scare-mongering tactics not only from the bosses of Irish Water, but also from the Taoiseach himself.

Following a protest on one of the year's wettest days involving 150,000 people, the like of which has not been seen on Irish streets since the formation of this State, Mr Kenny said that if we didn't pay these water charges (whatever they were, because no one seemed to know, including Irish Water), then our taxes would have to be hiked up by 4%. So Mr Kenny decided he'd pluck a figure out of thin air, to fire at the people who are keeping him and the rest of his cronies in the luxury to which they have become accustomed; to the people who paid for the bank bail-out, only to be treated like dirt by those very same banks; those banks that are still throwing their weight around without any recourse or challenge from this Government,





So where does the Labour Party stand in the middle of all this chaos....the medical card fiasco, the Department of Justice shambles, the McNulty affair, the NPPR savagery, the property tax issue, and the final fatal attack of the water charges. When Joan Burton was elected as the new leader of the party and Alan Kelly, the deputy leader, I thought we might at last hear a Labour voice standing up to the Fine Gael Party and saying NO MORE. Sadly, that has not happened. We heard some mutterings from both of them AFTER the last water charges protest, but I'm sorry to say, that came a little too late for most Labour voters. If we'd seen or heard Joan Burton, Alan Kelly, Alex White or any other member of the Labour front bench, standing up in the Dail and saying STOP six weeks ago, we might now be saying well at least they tried, instead we are left with the thought that this was merely a cynical attempt to save their seats at the next General Election. To start blaming Phil Hogan, who has been moved to Europe on a salary in excess of 300,000 euros is nonsense. They all knew the plan was hopelessly flawed, but were hoping somehow that the people of this country were asleep. This Government is not only arrogant, uncaring, but given they did not heed the message of the people during the thrashing they received in the local and European Elections, they are also embarrassingly stupid.

Yes this Government did work very hard to pull us out of a European bail-out, but somewhere along the line, they began to believe in their own omnipotence; forgetting that ultimately they are accountable to the people; a lesson, that Brian Cowen and his merry band of men had to learn to their chagrin not so long ago. A Labour person all my life, I am sick and tired of Labour Party people blaming the propaganda machine of Sinn Fein for their demise. The Labour Party needs to get its own act together.  It needs to go back to its roots and restructure accordingly and then FIGHT.

In the meantime, how can this Government condone bonuses for already well-paid workers who have not even begun to provide a service to the people of this country yet, and by the same token have not given one cent to support the invaluable services that CHILDLINE provides, CHILDLINE will have to curtail their 24 hour service after Christmas if they cannot raise the 3.5 million euros that it takes to run the service for 12 months. Some children are living in chaos and hell and feel they have no one to talk to and that no one believes them. CHILDLINE volunteers listen to these children without passing judgment and with complete anonymity. How can you put up a CLOSED SIGN on the door to a child who is in danger and in trouble. That's like saying, 'Sorry kids you're on your own....tough, sort it yourself!' The situation is appalling. How can we say that we value our children in this country? How can we take the high moral ground on abortion, when we won't even take care of the children that find themselves in the most desperate circumstances in the here and now, through no fault of theirs. There is something rotten in the State of Irish governance!

Finally, I'm all for peaceful protest, and now we've got a taste for it, let us also protest for something that doesn't just affect our pursestrings. We need to make our voices heard in support of the young, the elderly, and all other vulnerable sectors within our society.

Please donate to CHILDLINE by text to 57911 or check out www,SaveChildline24.ie







ciao for now!

Friday, November 14, 2014

MUST REACH OUT







MUST

Take in a deep breath
And smell.....
Smell the must
The must do things....
Like....
Must clean the house
Must send that email
Must wash the car
Must get the flu jab
Must dye the hair
Must prune the shrubs
Must pay the phone bill
Must do the shopping
Must cook that fab curry
Must go on a diet
Must buy the latest phone
Must grab the free booze
Must work all God's hours,

Must.....
Must.....
Must,,,,,
Musts are smelling musty.
Un-rust....
Un-dust....
Un-must the musts
And trust.....
Trust the true musts....

The must to fight for right
The must to reach out
The must to live and love


Maureen Walsh - November 2014






Ciao for now!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

MERCURY, MOON.....MYSELF





Ok....so Mercury has been in retrograde and that just might explain why so many people including myself have found ourselves caught up in a 'Kansas twister'; following a 'Yellowbrick Road' to 'Oz' only to arrive at a crossroads, and then, not unlike the Scarecrow from the much-loved film The Wizard of Oz, not knowing whether we should go left or right, that is assuming we know our left from our right in the first place. Of course there are many, as is to be expected in a world of 'seeing is believing', who give no credence whatsoever to the possibility that planets may exert an influence upon the human psyche and well-being. Whilst I  have absolutely no hankering to become an astronaut or indeed spend a part of any lottery win to book a flight to Mars, I am extremely fortunate to live in a place, where star-gazing is effortlessly breathtaking. I travelled to Lahinch last Bank Holiday Monday and as I walked barefoot along the beach through the shallows, I thought about the Moon and its influence upon the tides, and an image of the Moon lashing the Ocean into submission with an enormous whip, flooded into my mind.







Crossroads should be a piece of cake, if we know where we are heading to. Problem is we might be heading for that place, because we have to or should; rather than because we want to. Making decisions and, in particular, the selfish ones, can be more difficult for some than others and perhaps even more so in cases, whereupon too much responsibility was foisted at a very young age and then, having been whipped into shape, it becomes a way of life. When we think about doing something that is for us, we talk about it in terms of giving ourselves a little treat....as if we need to qualify our being kind to ourselves. Crazy stuff really.

As crazy as the image of the Moon whipping the tide. And don't even start me about the crazy, that is the water charges shambles here in Ireland....that's for the next blog.






Now 'a little treat' for MYSELF and of course, I hope for you the reader. Especially for those of us who love 'Moon-talking'....Claude Debussy's beautiful Clair de Lune.

Santa....I would like an alarm clock that plays this piece of music please. Just imagine waking up to this piece of music every morning.....







Ciao for now!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

STILL....






STILL....

Dusty feet on an unmapped road.
Wasps patrol for one last sting
Dampened senses singed by gold 
And Summer's last rose in final fling. 

Weary legs on that unmapped road
Clustered berries and blackened lips
Paling memories fueled by cold
And the wine of Summer that Autumn sips.






Maureen Walsh - October 2014



Ciao for now!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

FALLING......






Pulling deeply on a Marlboro, Lou leaned against the soft drinks machine under the escalator, and waited. Any moment now, through a halo of smoke, she would appear.

He had fallen in love with her, two weeks ago, in the cafe across from Bourke's hardware; and all within the time it took to bend down to pick up the spoon she had dropped at the check-out. He got there before she did, and as he raised his head and the rest of his lean body, he no longer felt the floor beneath his feet, for he was floating, and so was she, as the rest of the queue remained anchored several miles below. Red hair, red lips and red dress spent a lifetime with him in those twenty seconds. 'Thank you,' she smiled, as her fingers brushed his, to retrieve the spoon, and then drifted towards a window seat. He sat well away, in a corner under a Klimt print, so that he could watch how she did the little things: like stir her coffee; check her phone; pull down the hem of her dress over her knees; then fumble in her handbag to  refresh her red lipstick . She was of the sun; of that there was no doubt, and he would love her like only the moon could, if she smiled at him again. Would you care for a top-up, sir?' splintered the waiter. During this distraction, she had left and he stumbled over to the window and saw her on the edge of  the sidewalk, waving to someone across the street. Lou took in every physical aspect of the man now crossing towards her in front of a snarling line of cars and cabs, stuck on red. The intruder stopped and stood in front of her. He moved his head a little to the right,to look at her, and raising cuff-linked arms, he sighed. Then drawing her red into him, the usurper swept her away into his greyness.  .

Two evenings later and bored with his article: 'Obama is an Alien', Lou decided he needed a drink.... several actually, and left the office early. He hated the sub-way at this hour, but he couldn't take another 'frigging' word out of that prick's moaning mouth. Why couldn't his boss say 'fucking' like everybody else. He picked up some cigarettes at the drugstore next to the subway. Shuffling along, slowly, behind a class of field-tripping Junior High School kids, his irritation was overtaken by a rush of red hope. Twenty or so subway steps beneath him, he caught sight of the red hair. He battled his way through the over-excited children and there she was again, carrying a briefcase next to her green. She reached level ground several seconds before him. Once he landed, there were no more flashes of green or red....only the greyness of strangers. 

Pulling deeply on a Marlboro, Lou leaned against the soft drinks machine under the escalator, and waited. Any moment now, through a halo of smoke, he would see her, and the sun would smile at the moon again..






Maureen Walsh - October 2014




Ciao for now!




 

Friday, October 17, 2014

WIND IN THE WILLOWS AND AUTUMN RAMBLINGS


That time of year again....memories of Kenneth Grahame's wonderful book, Wind in the Willows. Autumn.... a time for winds and rain; a time for our animal friends to scurry here and there foraging for fruit and nuts in readiness for the long winter's sleep; a time for pruning back shrubs and trees, so they too can rest.


windinthewillows
















AUTUMN RAMBLINGS

It is time for Autumn winds to have their say
And for us to heed their call for change,

Autumn pays a visit to the curtseying willow tree
Where once they lay together on a veil of love and leaves.
Autumn's come a-calling to the sturdy Irish Lime
Where once he vowed to love her til the very end of time.

Curl up now and sleep my wee one,
Don't wake up til the Winter's gone.

Did you ever catch the cackle of a witch upon the wind?
Or glimpse her pointed features, painted yellow on the moon?

An acorn given to another....
A promise of unerring love.


Maureen Walsh - October 2014



 Glorious Autumn....I love it....a time to celebrate nature's riches.....to be cozy and warm.

And speaking of Autumn, willows and love, please listen to this wonderful recording from 1962 of American soprano Beverly Sills singing The Willow Song from Baby Doe. 







Ciao for now!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

CAST-OFFS AND EBOLA


Well the cast came off my left wrist today after 6 and a half weeks of not only being able to swim or get up to my normal aquatic antics during my two week sun holiday, type, wash or brush my hair properly, or unscrew jars etc etc., but the worst thing of all was that I wasn't able to THINK either. I'm typing again but with some pain and discomfort, but after all that it looks as if the tendon to my thumb, which is sort of hanging, has been ruptured, and according to the doctor today, will more than likely require an operation to sort it out. I got back to my car, lit a cigarette and sat there for at least twenty minutes with rain slashing the windscreen.....and cried. It was the 'THINKING' I was in mourning for. I have been at sixes and sevens for weeks and being born in the Chinese Year of the Horse, I was chomping at the bit to get back on track, Breaking a couple of bones in my foot about 10 years ago had been strangely less invasive. So what is going on?

I tried to give myself a kick in the ass while I sat there with the wipers on, by telling myself  I was being ridiculous but the tears came anyway. I eventually switched on the engine and drove home, deciding that a walk in the rain would probably provide the right medicine. As I drove, I thought again about the poor victims of Ebola. They have been very much on my mind over the last while and I can't help thinking that there is so much talk about keeping the killer disease out of OUR space, OUR lives, but very little talk about the individual suffering of the poor people that have contracted it. I listened to a representative from the Charity GOAL on RTE radio yesterday, who said they are looking for medical and logistical volunteers to help with the chaos in the affected parts of Africa and wished I wasn't so damn scared. If everyone was scared, nothing would ever happen to help these poor people. This makes me feel ashamed and guilty.

I might have to have an operation to fix my wrist and my thumb, but I haven't got Ebola.

I'm one of the lucky ones!


ciao for now

Thursday, August 7, 2014

UNACCEPTABLE ACCEPTANCE





UNACCEPTABLE ACCEPTANCE

Gun of middle age acceptance;
Rod of steel against my face.
Never, into mouth will I draw it,
Or swallow its cynical bullet.


Maureen Walsh - August 2014
(Painter: Aleksander Balos)
Ciao for now!



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

BANSHA SHOW, NANTWICH SHOW, DABBERS, BORD BIA, CASHEL BLUE CHEESE, LAND ROVER DEFENDERS, VINTAGE CARS AND FUN TOILET SEATS

 
I love the Bansha Show. It is one of the highlights of my year and so looking forward to Wednesday 28th August....a chance to meet old friends and chat idly for hours watching the dog show, sheep trials, show jumping events, eating homemade cakes, and poring over flowers, vegetables, fruit, arts and crafts etc. Bansha show is considered by many to be one of the best village shows in Munster. I believe it's success is due to an overwhelming sense of community. Meanwhile, I'm in the UK and whilst driving yesterday, I read a poster on the side of the road advertising the fact that Nantwich Show was on today. This morning I decided I'd go as it had been many years since I had been able to go. Nantwich is a beautiful little town, 4 miles from my home town of Crewe. Nantwich has beautiful black and white oak-timbered buildings dating back to the Tudor era, not unlike those in the city of Chester, the county town of Cheshire. Nantwich was a Roman salt-mining town and the miners were paid for their work in salt. Salt, of course, was a very important commodity in those times, as it was used to preserve food, as an antiseptic, to clean utensils and even teeth. The inhabitants of Nantwich were called 'dabbers' because their 'wages' wrapped up in a sack, were 'dabbed' up on to a counter or the like. To this day people from Nantwich are called 'dabbers'.
 
 
 
After purchasing the biggest 99 ice-cream cone I have ever seen, my next port of call was the cheese tent. Now cheese is undoubtedly my favourite food. Give me a selection of cheese, some crusty bread, Danish unsalted butter, olives, grapes and assorted chutneys and I am in heaven. Nothing could have prepared me for the array of cheese that I saw today however. I've never seen anything quite like it. Rows and rows of cheeses from all over the world; stands of cheese, that you could sample. It was mind-blowing. 
 
 
 
Imagine my absolute delight though, when I saw a Bord Bia stand promoting Irish cheese in the middle of this tent in Nantwich. I was so excited about seeing Irish anything, but cheese....this was special. I know that Ireland is currently negotiating cheese exportation to Canada, which does not surprise me at all, given the ridiculously high prices of cheese over there. I bought five smallish pieces of cheese last September, which cost almost 90 Canadian dollars. I was particularly pleased to see Cashel Blue Cheese there and went over to chat to the owner behind the stand, who informed me that they were finally getting their PR act together and were heading to France for another Cheese festival after this one.
 
 
 
 
From the cheese tent I went into the vegetable and flower tent and saw the biggest cabbage, the longest parsnips and the cutest onions I've ever seen in my life.
 
 
                                                                         Crinoline dress springs to mind!
 
 
 


Rats Tails anyone?




                                                                                 Ah....Daddy, Mammy and Baby Onion!
 
 
Next Stop were the Land Rovers. I have loved these since I was 15. The nearest I got to one was a 3.2 diesel Isuzu Trooper, which sadly I had to part with whilst I was doing my degree in UCC, because it was costing me an arm and a leg to drive up and down. I WILL buy my favourite of all which is a Land Rover Defender before I get much older. I saw some new ones today, but I'd prefer one with a few miles under its belt. Apart from a financial point of view, the thought of 'brand new' makes me sick with nerves. 
 
 

  
From the new, I ventured forth to the vintage cars....wow! There was an American car there beginning with a 'C', not Chevrolet or Cadillac that was at least 27 foot long. Trying parking that monster!
 
 
 
 
Then I came across a black Austin 7. My father's first car was a black Austin 7 and I can still recall the first three letters of the registration as FOE.... I looked inside and couldn't believe how small it was. I saw myself and my two brothers huddled into the back and as both of them were poor travellers, one or both invariably puked all over the place. My father Maurice, whose middle name was 'Weaver' after the river, that runs through the hamlet of Nantwich, was a 'dabber' and a mechanic, who knew everything there was to know about car engines, that was until the advent of electronics.
 
 
 
 
Then to my surprise, I came upon some vintage bicycles complete with paraffin lanterns on the front. I had a 'sit up and beg' or 'high Nelly' bicycle as a young girl and I remembered the times that Diane and I travelled to our first discos on it. I'd cycle and she'd run, then we would swap over. I had to be home by 9.30pm in those days. How things have changed.  
 
 
 
 
 
I saw massive bulls, sheep, shorn and otherwise, and the most beautiful shire horses. Wandering back through tents and stalls towards the exit, I came across a stand of fun loo seats.
 
 
 
 
Thought this was hilarious and would have bought it, had I room in my case to bring it home. Thought it would be great fun to put it in the upstairs loo for the friends that stay over. Definitely not for downstairs viewing and the more formal visitor.
 
I meandered back to my car along the canal bank, looking at the barges and pictured myself living on one of them. I'd had a lovely day that had brought back many happy memories, but as shows go, Bansha Show still stands head and shoulders above the rest....even Nantwich!
 
 
 
Ciao for now!
 
 
 

Friday, July 4, 2014

JOAN BURTON, ALAN KELLY - A SECOND CHANCE FOR EQUALITY AND FAIRNESS......TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE





As a member of the Tipperary branch of the Labour Party, I drove to Dublin today with three other fellow members to support Alan Kelly Labour TD for North Tipp in his quest to become the next deputy leader of the Party. We arrived  in time for lunch at the Department of Transport, which was followed by a fascinating tour of the Dail, and then on to the Mansion House, where it was duly announced that Joan Burton had become the first woman ever to be elected as leader of the Labour Party, and some time later it was declared that Alan Kelly had succeeded in securing the position of Deputy Leader. Following the recent kick in the proverbial ass doled out to the Labour Party by the electorate during the recent local and European elections,  there was a real sense today that we have a real opportunity now to show that 'yes' we are part of a coalition government, but we are NOT Fine Gael, and we will NEVER be Fine Gael. There is no doubt in my mind that when Fianna Fail left this country in tatters, the Coalition whilst governing this country within extremely severe constraints, had become so consumed....obsessed with the financial crisis, that they stopped listening to the people on the ground and consequently pushed those that were sacrificing most, over and beyond their limit. The Government had taken their eye off the ball and consequently hardworking and committed Local Council and European Election candidates and the thousands that canvassed for them were sent like lambs to the slaughter, and as it turns out, quite unnecessarily so. Those that voted Labour in the last general election felt betrayed by a  front bench, who appeared not to be willing to put up a fight and were perceived to be more FINE GAEL than the Fine Gael Party themselves. Even if they lost the battle in the end, isn't it better to go down fighting in your own corner with your own identity and principles. Joan Burton is a remarkably able politician and Alan Kelly, as he says himself, 'has Labour in his DNA....' and I genuinely believe that they will fight their corner for the Labour Party and for the workers of this country and those that are seeking work. After a day of speeches of striving for fairness and equality, I sat down tonight to watch the oscar-winning movie 12 Years A Slave





Quite frankly, I had not been in any hurry to watch this movie, because my daughter, Emma had already told me that it was disturbing, but nothing could have prepared me for the horror of this film, that is based on a true story. I sat in total silence with tears welling up in my eyes; screams choking my throat; and a tightness in my chest, for the entire thing. This film portrays the barbaric nature of the cruel crimes inflicted by the white man upon the black man, in a way that has not been realized so convincingly before. I have only ever been rendered speechless on two occasions following something that I've watched, but for two entirely different reasons. The other occasion was following an overwhelmingly beautiful production of Puccini's opera Tosca in London, which left both Emma and myself unable to communicate with each other for at least a half an hour afterwards. Through his brilliant direction of 12 Years A Slave, Steve McQueen doesn't allow us to feel every lash of the whip through the amount of blood spilled or flesh torn up, but rather, he forces us....enslaves us to feel every lash by leaving the cameras to linger for unusually lengthy periods of time upon an individual face....upon the faces of a group. The Director, then calls upon the chief witness of all this unbearable cruelty, Mother Nature herself, by flogging the camera to soak up the echoes of the black man's tears stitched into each leaf; each branch; each cotton blossom, each stick of sugar cane; and each stretch of sky, sea, swamp and river. It reminded me of how I could feel the echoes of children's unheeded crying from Letterfrack's infamous industrial school , that were heard and trapped within the Twelve Pins and surrounding countryside; and similarly, how I felt the echoes of Indians' tears, trapped within the mountains and countryside surrounding Vancouver, Canada, as they were forced from their lands to live in reservations. Visiting 'Whistler' should have been a highlight, but only served to confuse and leave me feeling increasingly sad and ill at ease. I captured some astonishingly beautiful images during my two week stay in Canada, and always intended to write a blog about my experiences there, but so far, apart from the background photo under the title of my blog, of the gorgeous potholes at Souke, Vancouver Island, I have not been able to do so. I am still confused and probably need to revisit and research more before I could possibly write about this beautiful but desperately sad place.

12 Years A Slave is a remarkable work of cinematic art, that I could never watch again. The saddest thing of all is that in this 21st century, slavery and torture of one form or another is still very much the reality, and there are still hordes of people who believe they are superior to others because of their gender, creed, colour, race, or financial status. I am reminded of  the little girl of a Romany family, who was taken away from her parents quite recently by Gardai without consulting social services or following routine preliminary investigations, simply because she had fair hair. The Romany family might well be suing the State  for gross misconduct, but that little girl's has been dyed nevertheless. Sad.

Today, I felt heartened as I listened to Joan and Alan speaking about fairness and equality, because without those two things, or at least to be striving for those things, we can never truly call ourselves a civilized society.






Ciao for now!

Monday, June 30, 2014

GALACTIC MOMENTS - SAMSUNGS AND DOUBLE PUNCTURES

Macross_Frontier_The_False_Songstress_[1080p,BluRay,x264]_-_THORA.mkv_snapshot_01.35.16_[2010.11.15_15.21.23]


I have had a Galaxy Samsung 3 phone for approximately two years, but have NOT used it except for the occasion when my beloved little pink Nokia phone found its way to the bottom of the toilet bowl for the third or fourth time. Thank goodness for rice. My daughters have been nagging me to get with the plot and take it out of its cute little black box and USE it.....but I love boxes! Imelda Marcos loved shoes....I love boxes....polka dots, stripes, flowers, leaning towers of Pisa and Blackpool, scantily-clad women etc I have them stacked in my office (woman's shed!), the toilet, the bathroom, the bedrooms, the kitchen....just don't stand still. The point being that they are both useful and pretty. Anyway back to the phone. I suppose it all boils down to the fact, that I am not one for reading instructions....boring! I am not interested in playing with the damn thing to find out what it does or does not do, but everyone else is doing it. Doing what I ask myself? Sometimes, when I hear about an app for this and an app for that, which has just earned some young whizz kid a huge amount of money (I don't begrudge a cent of it) and I am surrounded by 100 plus children trying to get them to move in one direction....together and then no voice for four weeks into the Summer, I ask myself why wasn't I born with a scientific brain. Anyway to borrow some lyrics from the musical Les Miserables....'The time is now, the time is here...'

I suppose the awakening began on the day I was flying out to Crete to celebrate my birthday. It was a day that had been planned and organized in an efficient manner, or so I thought. We have a holiday rental property called Honeysuckle Cottage in Ballinahinch, Golden, and I was driving over that morning to clean it and put in fresh linen, welcome pack and flowers etc etc before finishing the last minute bits and bobs of packing such as toiletries, phone, camera chargers and then the shower, the travelling gear on and the make up done. How quickly the best laid plans of women can be f....f....fouled up. Picture it if you can, driving along thinking of Crete; the sunshine; my birthday treat which was to watch the sun come up over the White Mountains the next morning, thinking about what outfit to wear travelling, when disaster struck. I heard a hissing from the passenger side front tyre. A puncture! Head in my hands against the wheel and freshly laundered towels and bed linen on the back seat; I spend a few seconds in suspended disbelief. Got out of the car and walked around to the other side of the car to look. A pancake....this was not funny at all and said so to the cows in the field beside me. It didn't cost them a thought though, as they continued to munch away; their tails swatting away predatory horse flies. You see they were quite happy to stay in that one field....perhaps I should be taking a leaf out of their book. What does a woman do in a situation like that,? She rings her husband of course. And of course what does he say? The usual....'How in God's name did you manage that?' I did ring him and then walked back up the road to take a look at what it was that had interrupted my reverie. There it was the smallest, but sharpest little grey rock. 'Bastard!' I thought and kicked it. Well you have to vent your frustrations in some form or another....poor rock. I then found myself muttering obscenities towards the farmer, whose wall was crumbling down onto the road. Walking back towards my car, I noticed that the back tyre was also punctured. Can you believe that....a double puncture. Now I wouldn't mind, but I had already suffered a double puncture caused by a sneaky rain-filled pothole last December. I mean I had never heard of anyone having a double puncture before, but here I was with my second. Anyway, it meant taking off two tyres and rushing to Cashel to buy two new tyres to replace two tyres that had only been bought last December, as we were driving to Dublin Airport in my car and had to be there by 3 in the afternoon. It was sorted, but there was no time for shower, wash hair etc. Hadn't time to fish out my camera charger, which had been put into a hat box with all the rest of my IT paraphernalia and mislaid during the woman shed set-up. We arrived at the airport by the skin of our teeth, and as the flight was delayed, I was able to buy a universal camera charger. All set now as I thought.

Watched the sun come up over the White Mountains....my planned gift to myself! Camera battery had been on charge all night ready for a visit to the German cemetry in Maleme, which I had wanted to visit for five years. Unfortunately, the battery wasn't charging and I presumed that the charger was to blame, so there were no photographs taken throughout the entire holiday. I was kicking myself for not having brought the Samsung. I'd have had time to play with it after all on holiday or perhaps my Greek friend would have shown me how to use it. He has all those I...wotsits!

Back in Ireland again, I discovered it was the battery that was at fault, but that the store no longer stocked that particular battery, because as I was informed, the cameras are being updated all the time. Yawn....yawn! I've learned since from another I.T. friendly friend that I can source it online. Thank God for I.T.....yeah! The point was however, that I was doing the flowers for a wedding last Friday and wanted to take some pics of my work, having finally conceded to my girls, that the only way to get on in business of any kind in this day and age, is to set up a website. No battery....no camera. I had no other choice but to find the cute little black box and take out the Samsung. I put it on charge overnight, and yes, you might have guessed, it hadn't charged. Something amiss with the charger I thought, but since I was collecting the wedding flowers from Limerick, I dropped into Harvey Norman and bought another charger. I needn't have bothered actually, because the Samsung was charged by the time I got home. I managed to take some pictures of the bouquets and button holes and my photographer friend, Caitriona very kindly came at very short notice to Bansha church and Kilshane House and took some professional pics. The Samsung went back into the cute little black box, but I am rather excited to announce that I have ordered a flip case for it from Amazon, as I discovered that as we are now up to Galaxy 5, it's difficult to buy a case over the counter for a Galaxy 3. So getting there....slowly but surely.

Today probably provided the final push mind you. I have been painting the outside of a house over the last few weeks. Today, I was up on top of a mini scaffold; armed with paint and paint brush; shorts on...lovely sunshine....birds whistling....the screams and roars of boys pucking a sliotar next garden down. Suddenly my little pink Nokia phone started to chirp in the pocket of my shorts, and as they're a wee bit on the tight side and I was wearing gloves, I did struggle to pull it out, and managed very cleverly to drop it into a gallon of cream paint. Luckily enough I had the sense not to go with my first thought, which was to run it under the tap. It came to me....my T Shirt. I took it off and using the inside of it, I rubbed off the paint from the phone, as best as I could. I spread out the painted T Shirt to dry, and to my amazement my faithful old Pink Nokia phone was still working, and I was able to return the missed call.

So....my friends, the time has finally arrived. The sim card is going into the new phone as soon as the flip case arrives and I am going to master this Galaxy Samsung 3 before it becomes completely defunct. That doesn't mean I won't return to my little lime-washed Nokia from time to time. I'm like that I guess. Hard to let go of things that are tried and tested.....they tend to come around again.

I was like a child in a sweetshop for three 20 hour days last week...working with such beautiful flowers and listening to the radio at 3 in the morning. This is one of the songs that I had forgotten I loved.....Carly Simon for you and me singing Coming Around Again








Ciao for now!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

SWEET PEAS AND LAVENDER





SWEETPEAS AND LAVENDER

Sweet peas and lavender exasperate beauty.
With hues beyond flames of a setting sun,
And scents more explosive than the hawthorn's glory.
Delicate yet bold, from exile they entice
The regal red bullfinch to join in the fest. 

It wouldn't be summer without these two,
That tear open my chest to exhume my heart;
Then stroking, they resuscitate with a soft lullaby.
Delicate yet bold; I am forced to recall
Every nuance, every glance of that red troubadour.  







Maureen Walsh - June 2014



Ciao for now!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

ALZHEIMERS





ALZHEIMER'S

She...her...melting footprints in the snow.
He....him...frozen fingers round a lace.
She...her...knotted knuckles at the jar.
He....him ..shattered speaking of the war.
She...her...wasted longing for a boy.
He and She...handcuffed prisoners in the past.


Maureen Walsh  -  June 2014






Remember to be kind........!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

DEPARTURES





DEPARTURES


Blistering north wind scours:
Under the thick coating of black dust
Red of the stoker's nose turns purple
As load after load is shovelled
Into the engine hungry for fire.
Full, the steam train is ready to break free.
Kicking, it gathers itself and them
Away from guilt and torturous goodbyes;
The steed of steel is out of view;
Towards Dover it snorts full
Of Young hearts bent on death or glory
.
The platform once grey with waving arms
Is empty now, and silent... except for
Echoes of howling entreaties
Forever trapped in brick and track.
Blistering north wind rampages
And a flag of white dislodges.
It flutters for a while on a peeling blade of cold,
Then settles close by to a soldier's cap,
Worsted, and abandoned in the frenzy.
'Come back to me...,' the white flag reads,
'My heart stands still till you return.'
Did anyone read that note?
Perhaps the station's mouse, as he shreds it to nest
In the hollow of that cap.

Blistering north wind ravages;
Reddening young girls' legs to purple;
Squeezed into teetering heels, wearing black on black:
A last shivering show of respect to a good and honest man.
Inside Born Free plays, but are we?
Only truly hearing those words now,
Panic freezes the innards of each bowed head
And, for a split second stubborn blood refuses to flow.
'See you soon on the other side', floats across the open grave,
Flippant, but true from a workmate with calloused hands
And the map of his life, etched into red-veined cheeks;
Railway blackheads nailed into the folds of his neck.

Parting, such sweet sorrow....perhaps....?
But the blistering north wind ravishes!






.
Maureen Walsh - June 2014



Ciao for now!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

JOYCE DIDONATO - HER INSPIRATIONAL ADDRESS TO JUILLIARD'S GRADUATING STUDENTS 2014





Joyce DiDonato is an American lyric-coloratura mezzo-soprano and is particularly admired for her interpretations of Handel, Mozart and Rossini. I came across this inspirational speech she delivered to graduating students of Juilliard conservatoire recently. She speaks directly and with great humility when pointing out that choosing a life in the arts is about the 'journey' rather than the 'destination'.




This wonderful singer suffered many many 'NO's' at the start of her career, but continuing the fight to be heard, she is now one of the world's leading mezzo-sopranos. Here she sings, Una Voce Poco Fa from Rossini's Barber of Seville. Such glorious, glorious singing!




Ciao for now

Friday, May 16, 2014

SHABBY DRESS

SHABBY DRESS


Death is an adventure
And I'm not brave enough,
You lie there....my age
With two days only left to breathe.
Around the sun 60 times
One week ago: your last Party.
I flew and we hugged;
Our eyes searching for the  
Little girls again....nine days apart.
I knew and you knew
In that crowd of unknowing.
Shared discoveries of first pubic hairs; 
The 'grown up' pride of our first tiny bras;
And regret wells up over wasted time.
Skinny again Janet 
And I the chubby one.
Shabby dress can be replaced....
Death is an adventure
And you are the braver.


FOR JANET

Maureen Walsh - 17th May 2014

  


Thursday, April 24, 2014

CHERRY BLOSSOM SURPRISE





Cherry Blossom Surprise

In contrast to the limes 
Of a rural spring,
Curls of papery pink
Sprawling across the concrete
Of its urban brother....
Surprise the more.






Maureen Walsh - April 2014

And this is a recording of an old 78 rpm record that my father used to play and then we'd take a spin around the kitchen floor.




Ciao for now!






Wednesday, April 9, 2014

GEOMETRY OF THE UNEMPLOYED





GEOMETRY OF THE UNEMPLOYED

Lonely, he sits on a cold step
near Trinity and watches.....
Catches the geometry of it all.

And so the masculine:
Squares and rectangles 
Of brick walls and stone 
Diagonals and parallels 
Of tram routes and bus.
And so to the feminine:
Circles and semi-
Of door ways and Arch
Diamonds and hexagons
Of roof tiles and porch.

Outside of the lines
Outside of the circles
Outside of the box
He struggles.....invisible.
Sucked into black triangle 
Of concrete nothingness as
Rusting 'Way-out' sign unhinges
Hits his unsuspecting head
And away from flailing hands
Rope wraps around his neck. 
 .




Maureen Walsh - April 2014







Ciao for now!



Thursday, March 20, 2014

PANTIES TO PARADISO





I was sitting on the loo the other morning just after waking up and my eyes strayed to the panties that I'd stepped out of the night before. It only seemed like five minutes before that I had been putting them on fresh and ready for a new day. Now it was a different day....different panties....same routine. The sameness of that routine and the feeling that as I grow older, time is moving at an ever-increasing speed, caused a sense of panic that took hold for a second....a minute....an hour; that stark reality that sometimes takes hold within the immediacy of wakening, when the buffers of escapism....lagging behind, are still sleep.

Life, or at least my life is riddled with ambiguity. I tell myself I hate routine, but secretly I crave order, because I know that I will never function or fire on all pistons in a house that badly needs to be de-cluttered, or with a brain that darts from one project to another. I swear to myself that I will give up cigarettes because I know it is bad for my physical and psychological health....yet I've just stubbed one out! I want to be able to sit for hours at a time writing, yet there is always, always something more pressing to be done. I want to fill my days with golden things like music, art,poetry and gardening, yet I put on the radio to listen to the news and current affairs programs, because I haven't the time to read a newspaper.

I am so excited about and grateful for my office....my den; the equivalent of the patriarchal shed! Just some pictures and photographs; a rug; coffee machine (well you have to spoil yourself now and then); and a window to dress now. Whilst moving everything in and on to shelves, I could not get over the amount of work and research I had done on Dante's Inferno and Purgatorio at UCC, and felt lonely for those hours of Dante time and study, that fascinated and mesmerized. I groaned and moaned to myself about the fact that all the wonderful Dante stuff that is still going on in UCC, to which I am always invited, happens on Tuesday evenings, and I have to be somewhere else. Typical.

Anyway, as I sat there looking at the panties, half asleep , I promised myself there and then, that I would continue to study Dante's great work on my own. Here's to Part 3 of Dante's Divina Commedia - Paradiso. 








Ciao for now!