lila downs

Honouring Women

24974393973_00efb80acd_m A grand old time!

There has been a lot of emphasis on women since the beginning of the year and more often than not, thankfully in a positive light. In Ireland anyway we’ve learned so much about the important roles played by women in the rising of 1916 and beyond, as the country struggled for independence. Studying history in school in the 1980’s however, we were led to believe it was a male only revolution but thankfully women are now getting the recognition they deserve. Women of all generations are flourishing in the arts, in politics and business and although it’s difficult to believe in 2016, we still have a long way to go to achieve the gender equality to which we are so rightly entitled.
Gender discrimination in terms of education, employment, pay, human rights etc., is ubiquitous, battles are hard-won in the West but women living in developing or dictatorial countries haven’t even been invited to the war.
In honour of International Women’s Day and in this Women In History Month, today’s show is all about the ladies. We’ll have poetry from Sharon Olds, Lucille Clifton and Radmila Lazic and music from Kate Bush, India Arie and Natasha Khan. We think of our Grandmothers, Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Neice’s all over the world fighting battles from the personal to the political; we think of women who broke the barriers, cleared the path and led the way from Sappho to Simone de Beauvoir, Harriet Beecher-Stowe to Benazir Bhutto, Mirabai to Malala Yousafzai. Warriors, nurturers, lovers and friends – we are every woman!

 

 

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An Image Of Love And Oats

Every morning, I open Neruda’s One Hundred Love Sonnets on the breakfast table and escape to his Chilean Isla Negra.  I let him fold his wings over me and get an insight into his romantic mind: his sexual longings and love for his wife Matilde; his celebration of the the body, the female form and all its comparisons to food, birds, stones, water and mountains.   For ten to fifteen minutes I am where he is.  

On his island, its shores and mountains, vineyards and harvested earth, I feel, for the briefest of moments, his mind and vision and wish that breakfast could last all day long.  The tender sonnets of one of Latin America’s foremost love poets, bestow my humble oats with ambrosial qualities, making the mundane passionate and extraordinary. Born in 1904 in a small town in central Chile, Neruda became one of the most renowned poets of the 20th Century. He shared the World Peace Prize with Paul Robeson and Pablo Picasso in 1950, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his poetry in 1971.   His poetic genius is unmatched and I love how his writing can be so simultaneously affectionate and astute.  I don’t normally post my own work here but there is no cause for alarm! This is just my morning, my

Breakfast With Neruda
By Tracy Gaughan

Open on my breakfast table, your book
of Sonnets. They bear the aroma of warm grain
from the Black Island, a measure of romance
and oats, milled by the buhrstone of your poet tongue.

Spoons of sand in an ocean of moon, I draw in
the perfume of your labour: earth, chaff, threshing
de-hulling; sweet carnal desires ripening
under the hot Chilean sun.

You transform this cereal ritual
Into an impassioned banquet of words
From your heart to my mouth – before sonorous steel
Pilfers me from our constellation of breath.

I return each morning like thirst, unquenchable.
Refill my empty nets with your shoal of syllable.