kate bush

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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Study of the past

This weeks show features the poetry and music of History with Sharon Olds, Derek Walcott & Maura Dooley alongside Tori Amos, Ludovico Einaudi & Norah Jones.

Digital image

  Tracy Gaughan ©

 

Presented by Tracy Gaughan

People by WestWords

Theme of People in poetry and music featuring: Carl Sandburg’s tribute to the people of Chicago, James Tate’s Lost Pilot and the Idea of Ancestry by Etheridge Knight. Along with music from Damien Rice, Hozier and Bell X1.
Presenter: Tracy Gaughan

A Poem For Ireland

This weeks show features poetry from our recent national competition to find Ireland’s favourite poem of the last one hundred years. Paula Meehan, Sean O’Riordan, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Louis MacNeice and Paul Durcan all make an appearance along with music from Planxty, Kate Bush and Van Morrison among others.

Yes: Molly Bloom And The Female Word

Tomorrow is June 16th, the day in 1904 that the events of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses take place and when Joycean’s all IMG_0003over the world will be celebrating Bloomsday!  Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, born in Dublin in 1882.  He earned a BA from UCD with a focus on modern languages (he was conversant in 17 including Arabic and Norwegian!); met and married Galway woman Nora Barnacle with whom he left Ireland in 1904 for Europe – where they lived until Joyce’s death in Switzerland in 1941.  His best known works are the early short story collection Dubliners; A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man; the play Exiles and poetry collections Chamber Music, Gas From A Burner and Ecce Puer.

Despite Ulysses, being banned for many years in the UK and US due to it’s explicit prose, it was Joyce’s landmark novel, published in Paris in 1922. A modern retelling of Homer’s Odyssey the story recounts a single day in Dublin: June 16, 1904 and sets the characters and incidents of the Odyssey in modern Dublin, representing Ulysses, Penelope and Telemachus in the characters of Leopold Bloom, his wife Molly Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. The final episode is the most notorious and Molly has the last word.  In her closing soliloquy, she muses, in graphic detail, on love and life and sex. She closes with Yes – a word that Joyce described as the female word, that he said indicated acquiescence, self-abandon, relaxation and the end of all resistance. A passionate sexual woman – go Molly! Here’s an abridged version with a musical interpretation by English singer/songwriter Kate Bush:

…I love flowers I’d love to have the whole place swimming in roses God of heaven there’s nothing like nature the wild mountains then the sea and the waves rushing then the beautiful country with fields of oats and wheat and all kinds of things and all the fine cattle going about that would do your heart good to see rivers and lakes and flowers all sorts of shapes and smells and colours springing up even out of the ditches primroses and violets nature it is as for them saying there’s no God I wouldn’t give a snap of my two fingers for all their learning why don’t they go and create something I often asked him atheists or whatever they call themselves go and wash the cobbles off themselves first then they go howling for the priest and they dying and why why because they’re afraid of hell on account of their bad conscience ah yes I know them well who was the first person in the universe before there was anybody that made it all who ah that they don’t know neither do I so there you are they might as well try to stop the sun from rising tomorrow the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me yes first I gave him the bit of seedcake out of my mouth and it was leapyear like now yes 16 years ago my God after that long kiss I near lost my breath yes he said I was a flower of the mountain yes so we are flowers all a womans body yes that was one true thing he said in his life and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he asked me to say yes and I wouldnt answer first only looked out over the sea and the sky I was thinking of so many things he didnt know of Mulvey and Mr Stanhope and Hester and father and old captain Groves and the sailors playing all birds fly and I say stoop and washing up dishes they called it on the pier and the sentry in front of the governors house with the thing round his white helmet poor devil half roasted and the Spanish girls laughing in their shawls and their tall combs and the auctions in the morning the Greeks and the jews and the Arabs and the devil knows who else from all the ends of Europe and Duke street and the fowl market all clucking outside Larby Sharons and the poor donkeys slipping half asleep and the vague fellows in the cloaks asleep in the shade on the steps and the big wheels of the carts of the bulls and the old castle thousands of years old yes and those handsome Moors all in white and turbans like kings asking you to sit down in their little bit of a shop and Ronda with the old windows of the posadas 2 glancing eyes a lattice hid for her lover to kiss the iron and the wineshops half open at night and the castanets and the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman going about serene with his lamp and O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and the pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

The poetry and music of Success & Failure!

WestWords Perfect Pair 15.09.2014

Australian poet and fiction writer, Dorothea MacKellar was born in Sydney in 1885.  She was educated at home and travelled extensively with her parents, becoming fluent in French, Spanish, German and Italian. Privileged and unusual, MacKellar published four volumes of poetry including The Witch Maid, and Other Verses (1914); Dreamharbour (1923); and Fancy Dress (1926). In addition to poetry, Mackellar also wrote novels, one by herself, Outlaw’s Luck (1913), and at least two in collaboration with childhood friend Ruth Bedford. Her poem My Country is perhaps the best known Australian poem. MacKellar was appointed OBE just before she died in 1968. This next poem was read at her funeral service, it’s:

COLOUR
By Dorothea MacKellar

The lovely things that I have watched unthinking,
Unknowing, day by day,
That their soft dyes have steeped my soul in colour
That will not pass away –

Great saffron sunset clouds, and larkspur mountains,
And fenceless miles of plain,
And hillsides golden-green in that unearthly
Clear shining after rain;

And nights of blue and pearl, and long smooth beaches,
Yellow as sunburnt wheat,
Edged with a line of foam that creams and hisses,
Enticing weary feet.

And emeralds, and sunset-hearted opals,
And Asian marble, veined
With scarlet flame, and cool green jade, and moonstones
Misty and azure-stained;

And almond trees in bloom, and oleanders,
Or a wide purple sea,
Of plain-land gorgeous with a lovely poison,
The evil Darling pea.

If I am tired I call on these to help me
To dream-and dawn-lit skies,
Lemon and pink, or faintest, coolest lilac,
Float on my soothed eyes.

There is no night so black but you shine through it,
There is no morn so drear,
O Colour of the World, but I can find you,
Most tender, pure and clear.

Thanks be to God, Who gave this gift of colour,
Which who shall seek shall find;
Thanks be to God, Who gives me strength to hold it,
Though I were stricken blind.