Saturday, 19 August 2017

Twenty | A Poem



At sixteen I confessed;

I need to find a new place to
Rest my head
Away from what I knew before,
Away from Jacks of all Trades and
Masters of none
Away from where my eyes struggle
Under the weight of a thousand suns
Away from a veil which was 
Placed over my mouth and
I forgot how to speak for months
On end.

Tell me,
How fast can you spell 
Recovery?
It comes about in the smiles of 
Others reflected right
Onto me,
It comes in fleeting fashion,
A swing of a pendulum I do
Not even own
But I pray that it will land in such
A way that I can
Feel myself again -

Enough to let all the love
I want to feel
For myself
And those around me,
Pour through the valleys
To flush all the matter that
Caused such hurt here.

And I would wish for these times
To be finite,
Like a mere spec in a Van Gogh
Painting,
Resting as delicate accidents
That do not impose on the
Brush strokes 
Surrounding it;
Forming miles upon miles of
Constellations that make up
Life,

Utterly and
Completely,

Letting the parts that are lovable
Bloom a brilliant elixir –

At nineteen,
There was a reprieve,
In the deepest depths of a wintry summer, 
Strings came to life in a church,
Bare feet dancing as if moving
On hot sand,
A technicolour display on the alter,
A whole new religion created

That was where I wanted to stay,
Not to worship a God belonging to 
Anyone, but
An art that ties us all together
And binds our souls in a sacrament
Of words and notes
That lilt the heart to peace.

At twenty,
I believe the valleys will remain,
Through the smaragdine mist, 
I'll find a palace I can waltz in,
That I could call home,
At least for a while -
No petticoats or lavish frocks
No hand of an emperor’s son,
But just to feel at peace
In the safety of the steps.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Achieving | It's Not a Race




Last week while on my way home, from somewhere that is not relevant in this context, I was entertaining a monologue in my head about the thought of turning 20 this month. The further the car went down the country road, through the village, I thought, Holy, Mary, Mother of God I will be 25 in five years’ time.


The car chugged up Biddy’s Corner and I panicked at the chance of not fulfilling everything I wish to at least attempt by that age.


It is funny to think, as children, how much we meticulously planned out our lives. I was no exception to entertaining my notions: I was to be married by my mid-twenties with a child en route (lol), at the blossoming stage of my career (whatever that was going to be) and a book either published or in the final stages of writing.


Oh dear, how these notions shift and alter with time and sense.


First of all, the thought of marriage anytime soon is nothing short of terrifying, baffling and hilarious. That would involve some element commitment, and I can assure you that is a hard-sought thing nowadays! Any potential familial arrangements for thought are postponed way, way, way into the (far distant) future.


A career? Let me get my degree first. Although I would love to be involved in radio broadcasting.


Is there a lack of geographical representation of voices on our airwaves? Absolutely.


Are we lacking gender balance in radio at a national level? Of course we are.


Why am I still interested, then? I’ll cross that hurdle when I need to.


Although, I do want to assure seven-year-old Catherine that it is more than alright not to be married with two kids racing around within the next handful of years. Right now I am more concerned about my recent revelation, Jacob’s Mediterranean Style Crackers than becoming anyone’s wife right now.


I am aware that there are young teenagers building start-up companies, becoming media pundits before they have sat foot in a journalism or communications degree, featured on the most “Influential 30 under 30” list and drink their coffee stronger than my literal, entire being. I am also beginning to learn that it is okay for me not to be these things either right now.


There is a part of me that enjoys the notion of the hustle, and by the very fact of what I am studying, I am encouraged to indulge in it also. That notion that is championed by our societal hierarchy: work yourself into the ground, and surely to God something good will come from it. Learn how to do have a firm handshake, attend those coffee networking mornings (even if you hate coffee), sell your soul to a sharp-shooting entrepreneur while you’re an undergrad student and still somehow manage to keep a social life/dating life/fall in/fall out/fall in again of love as you climb up your respective corporate ladder.


Oh, and sure look, if you can be happy at the end of it aren’t you a lucky divil?

We always feel we need to move onto the next thing before we have even finished the last. With this way of thinking, it does not allow us to take a moment to spare a thought for what we have achieved. Furthermore, I think that those who are more creatively-inclined feel the pinch more. We are a group that do not rely necessarily on investment (although that is nice, too) and talking the big game in crisp shirts with Apple watches on our wrists to get our projects in motion.

What does someone like me rely on then?

Quite simply; ideas.

Where can I get these ideas?

Situations, people or even a pretty walk home somewhere (preferably not in the dark though, that’s when things take a nose-dive. Next thing you know you’re falling into a ditch or a pothole. Overall, not a fun time for anyone involved.)

Of course, opening my mouth and letting air circulate to vibrate my vocal chords in order to produce sounds to converse with other kindred spirits is a big help.

I do get blank spots, quiet spots in the cogs of my mind that should be thinking of

Words
Words
Words.


Aren’t they a great thing when you have the right ones?

And it is during these quieter times, the thought of achieving is almost laughable and what has been got and sought for previously is irrelevant. Young Johnny might be sponsored to head off on a first-class flight, with champagne provided beside him that he is not legally allowed to drink, to give a Ted talk to beady-eyed corporate gurus. Meanwhile, I am here, and all I would want or wish for is to see Dermot Kennedy live to fuel my literary heart.


Although another part of me screams to just be authentic, true and do what I can in the hope that things that are meant to be will happen in their own time. I might not be a city-slicker-hot-shot but I do know that I always treat the people around me the way in which I would want to be treated too, I would literally make tea for any soul, I tap into my interests without making too much of a fuss, hell my feet can take me to beaches and gigs when my parents were told once I would never walk.


These are things I would not bring up in a networking meeting, but they are still my own achievements which are valid to me and I am accepting that sometimes that can be enough.


It is okay if you do not know what you are doing what your life right now. If things were so easy to come by in the palm of our hands, the rewards which we would then redeem would not feel as sweet. The way our world is turning, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to remain any way at peace within our own minds.


Whatever I do achieve, whether in the byline of a newspaper or the credits at the end of a production of some kind, it might make all the boys I knew that could not keep to their word by me think:


“Damn, I really should not have left her ‘on seen' all that time ago.”

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Coming of Age | A Poem


I write to try and find
the will to throw letters together
of words I should
have spoken
long ago -
But I was swallowed,
every fragment of my being,
not by walls, but rather
what was between them;

Whoever filled up the space
of a
Classroom
Hallway
Shopping aisle
Packed church.

An entire community,
Where I did not feel
Safe
To Dream.

If you want to
bring me somewhere
I have felt
Loved,
If all else fails -
Take me to Dublin

Where I am no longer
known for being the success
story of a girl’s
nature defying science -
I only got here because
I craved
Freedom.

The lights do not owe
Me anything,
Hold my hand
as they set me alight
in the felicity
that is now
my youth.

I am a woman who will dance
In maroon brogue shoes
To any beat as I please,
I’ll waltz into Flannery’s in a ball gown
And dance with strangers
After I’ve simmered down a
Bottle of white wine
I bought for under a fiver
where I cradled it,
quite proudly,
down the Ballymun road.

I have rote-learned
recipes of cups of tea
for the masses,
My dining table is
a hub for your tales -
My couch is a cot
to rest your tired bones
As we kick back and dissect
the events of the
Night before.


I have entertained the sweetest
talk my ears ever did bear witness -
From a country mother’s son -
A tonic of some kind,
A sense of vivacity that I had
only imagined 
happened at the pens
of other writers.
Never have I felt more
encased in such a
Thunderous bloom
than listening

To recitals that came
out of his mouth like
rose petals,
Delicate in the weight
they carried,
Divine in the pictures
they grew
of life both
Lived and unseen,
At a pace
Where only
Gold dust
could keep up.

But yet, I step to my own
tune again,
A modest glow still
Remains.

I will go home
Eventually,
to the island of whispers,
where the waves of the
Atlantic curl around
the cogs of my mind.

A heart once heavy
Now lifted,
Strengthened -

I will sit on the patio
and see him surge through
the clouds above my head -
Germany-bound at summer’s end
I will make a promise to us both;
Darling,
Age is coming.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

To Leave, To Live | A Poem



In winter, my heart was warmer
In spring, bloodlines trickle down
To write a name so crisp and clear
Quite easily, faltering
Repeatedly

Now is the time
To change with the season,
To be honest in nature,
To put the lights back in my 
Eyes again -

Scaltarín*,
You cannot
Shelve yourself for
The year,
Far worse things happen
Across our raging seas.

If you leave your window open
You may hear my feet 
Dancing in the garden,
To dance away
A sense of finality
I am all too familiar with.

Sincere in strength,
True in intention,
A smile that
Could rip the tide apart.

Say my name and
Let it fall over the dusty myrtle
River,
There will be a smell of rain
To send me away and
I’ll sing all along a 
Pebbled path to
A new ballroom

About promises that hung
On copper wires,
Bending over every
Which way,
Calls me now to consider;
Did you ever love, son?

Dearest scaltarín,
Arrows fall short and
Lanterns furtively
Get lost in their
Flight,

A ruby glow is shadowed
At night when we leave.
It will make its way to 
Another home,
Unknown to us.

If it is to be the will
Of a future
Closing day,
It may be found on a 
Mountain top,
Sitting beside a blue ribbon
Tied to a branch of a hawthorn tree
That we once planted
In our 
Sleep.


*Scaltarín (scawl-tar-een)
Meaning a small bird in Irish
(A variation of the word you won't typically find in a dictionary. How convenient.)