Month: December 2015

To Possibilities!

495605058_29f95740b4_mAnything is possible! Holdfast to dreams!  Permit yourself to be human! Be where you are when you’re there!  Exercise!  Appreciate the good! Do everything you can to be happy! Practice unconditional love! Adapt and flow! Happy 2016!

American poet William Stanley Merwin was born in New York in 1927.  In a style that rebuffs the usual language rules, his writing is greatly influenced by his interest in Buddhism.  He is the author of over fifty books of poetry, prose and translation, including: The Compass Flower 1977; The River Sound 1999 and in 2014 The Moon Before Morning.  Translations include Sir Gawain and The Green Knight 2004; Dante’s Purgatorio 2000 and volumes by Federico Garcia Lorca and Pablo Neruda. He served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2010 to 2011. He currently lives and works in Hawaii.  Here is:

To the New Year
BY W. S. MERWIN

With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible

 

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WestWords Perfect Christmas Pair

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Contemporary Irish Poet, Paul Durcan was born in 1944 in Dublin, he grew up both there, and in Turlough, Co. Mayo. He studied Law at UCD and Archaeology at UCC and has been publishing his poetry since the late 1960s. Durcan won the Whitbred Poetry Prize in 1990 and has collaborated with musicians Michael O’Suilleabhain and Van Morrison. He is also a member of Aosdana, an honorary membership of living artists established by the Arts Council in 1981. A winter favourite, its:

GOING HOME TO MAYO, WINTER 1949
By Paul Durcan

Leaving behind us the alien, foreign city of Dublin
My father drove through the night in an old Ford Anglia,
His five-year-old son in the seat beside him,
The rexine seat of red leatherette,
And a yellow moon peered in through the windscreen.
‘Daddy, Daddy,’ I cried, ‘Pass out the moon,’
But no matter how hard he drove he could not pass out the moon.
Each town we passed through was another milestone
And their names were magic passwords into eternity:
Kilcock, Kinnegad, Strokestown, Elphin,
Tarmonbarry, Tulsk, Ballaghaderreen, Ballavarry;
Now we were in Mayo and the next stop was Turlough,
The village of Turlough in the heartland of Mayo,
And my father’s mother’s house, all oil-lamps and women,
And my bedroom over the public bar below,
And in the morning cattle-cries and cock-crows:
Life’s seemingly seamless garment and gorgeously rent
By their screeches and bellowings. And in the evenings
I walked with my father in the high grass down by the river
Talking with him – an unheard of thing in the city.

But home was not home and the moon could be no more outflanked
than the daylight nightmare of Dublin city:
Back down along the canal we chugged into the city
And each lock-gate tolled our mutual doom;
And railings and palings and asphalt and traffic-lights,
And blocks after blocks of so-called ‘new’ tenements –
Thousands of crosses of loneliness’s planted
In the narrowing grave of the life of the father;
In the wide, wide cemetery of the boy’s childhood.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!

 

Book Reviews

I thought I’d post some of my book reviews of the last months for any interested readers.  Today’s choice is The Herbalist, the first novel by Irish Author Niamh Boyce, which won Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards 2013, and was long listed for the IMPAC Award.  Read my review here.

The Herbalist