Thursday, September 19, 2013

New Hands

by Madelaine Nerson Mac Namara,  ©2013
I prepare for the time
when it will not do
to be shy touching you.
At Shiatsu classes
my new hands find their voice.

Tonight I stand
behind your pink armchair
your aching shoulders
my homework practice.

Skin invents itself
currency and gift.
Your neck smoothens
like a kitten's
my back ripples, morning alive.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Where Do You Come From

by Sarah O'Mahony    © 2013

I come from the sea
Rolling waves on a beach
Stormy seas in winter time with great powerful energetic waves of deep
Sapphire blue, haunted with 
Crispy heavy droplets of snow white fringed waves.

I come from the land, mother earth, the rocks and soil,
Free fresh air, crisp fresh cooling soothing fresh Atlantic air.

I come from white splashes of rocks and stones all around and 
Mingled with deep mellow yellow ochre lichen.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Visit to Derrynane, Co.Kerry.

by Cecily Lynch 

Cecily Lynch

( Home of Daniel  O'Connell, The Great Liberator)

On a sunlit August afternoon I approached the rugged beauty of Derrynane, a national park on the famous ring of Kerry.  A winding road,  heavy gates, an avenue -  and there was the house, well preserved and  lovely to behold.  To the right was a glasshouse where  was displayed the golden coach which carried Daniel O'Connell, an activist for the poor Irish peasant in the mid-nineteenth century through the streets of Dublin in  a triumphant  parade.  To the left lay the lawns and sand dunes, behind which lay the golden sands and crystal clear waters of a lovely beach. Near it perched on an island was the ancient abbey cemetery, still in use.  It is most dramatic to see a funeral cortege wend its way across the sands, the coffin held aloft over the shallow waters.

Beauty of landscape lay all around.  The groves, the bays, the coves and inlets, the long stretches of golden sand and the rocky promontory of Lambs Head, delighted the eye.  The islands in the bay, Deenish and Scarriff, glistened in the sun.  The curving range of mountains was a background to the little groups of holiday homes among the bare rocks.
The history of Ireland lay before me near Coomakista, a steep incline facing the Scelligs.In the foreground were megalithic tombs, dating from 3.000 BC.  They faced the sea and the setting sun illuminated them.

 Nearby a stone circle pointed  towards the solar and lunar events, a place of religious worship for megalithic peoples.  Some yards away lay a perfectly preserved ring fort dating from  the early middle ages.  Still further,  scattered remains of famine villages, told the tale of hardship and deprivation.  Between these lay the stout farmhouses of perhaps two hundred years, still strong. And near them were the modern bungalows and beautiful holiday homes built during the Celtic Tiger years. I walked on, hunched under my knapsack and thought of  the harsh times gone by when people lived in and loved this dramatic landscape, people of my own race whose genes I carry on into the twenty first century.  May I carry the torch for them.

Cecily Lynch

Monday, September 9, 2013

Waiting Patiently in Sicily

by Musetta Joyce © 2013

I had been at a loss as to where men and women might meet and chat in our town, for women never drank in the bars and there were no clubs or social occasions that I knew of, until at last I got my answer: doctors' waiting rooms. That's where people mingle.
Personally I avoid doctors like the plague, but my husband, like most Sicilians, is addicted, and as he likes my moral support at such outings, I reluctantly tag along. Given the circumstances the conversation usually concentrates on bodily dysfunctions, but this time was different.
Sitting awkwardly on green plastic chairs lining the walls of the small room there were only two women, a mother and her middle-aged daughter, sallow-skinned and darkly clad. They spoke with raucous voices in a version of the Sicilian dialect that was almost impossible to understand, commenting on everything discussed rather like a Greek chorus. The men were dressed in jeans and tee shirts in primary colours. They were mainly middle-aged truck drivers and builders, deeply tanned. 
 'The hunting season is open at last. About bloody time too,' remarked a stocky man in a yellow tee shirt.
'Well it's all the same to me. I stopped paying for my licence and handed over my gun.' A tall thin man in blue opened the small window.
'Ah yes, there's a great scarcity of birds alright, I don't blame you.'
'No, no, it's not the birds that bother me. I was afraid I'd use the gun to kill a guy that cheated me.'
'Why would you want to do that? What did he do to you?'
'Ah it's a long story. Enough to say that he owes me a lot of money for jobs done. A lot of jobs. The bastard!'
'Why don't you take him to court?'
'You must be joking! In this town? I'm nobody. I would never get justice. No, I have to make my own justice.'
'But killing the man with your own gun isn't a good idea. Why not use a lump of iron? Bash him on the head one dark night. Much easier to get away with that.'
'Nonsense,' a third man entered the discussion. 'Far better to knock him down with your car. When he's sauntering around the piazza in the dusk one evening. Bang, crash- finito presto!'
'But you'd risk getting slapped into prison for manslaughter!'
'So? I'd get fed, wouldn't I? My children are all settled, my house is paid for and my wife is tired of me. I might even get time to read. I never get time to do my own thing. I've lived my life well, I'd be nice and cool al fresco and that bastard would be burning in hell. I'd get my revenge and he'd get his come'uppings. Nobody would miss me.'
'What about your grandchildren?' A red-faced man with matching shirt interrupted with a gravelly voice.
'You're on the ball there. The one thing that stops me is the thought of my grandchildren. How could I play with them if I was locked up?'
 'But surely your children would miss you. I know my son would if it was me in jail.'
'Oh now, so your son thinks you're special, does he?'
'My son is special, and that's because I made him special. A world champion, several times over he is.'
'World champion? Are you by any chance the father of … ?' This time it was my husband who wanted to hear more.
'Cairoli? Yes. That's my son. World champion at motor-cross five times. When he wins it eleven times we'll be happy.'
All attention turned away from the would-be killer to the father of the world champion of which the whole town is justifiably proud.
'How did he start his career? Everyone is amazed that our small town, with no facilities and no encouragement somebody could make it with such success!'
'I know. I had to make the track myself – down by the old riverbed. Started him on a bike when he was three. Took to it like a fish to water. Sings as he races, he does. You see I always wanted to race myself but my father was cowardly; wouldn't let me. After I die, he said, but then it was too late. So I had to wait for a son of my own to train to succeed where I had no chance. But first a daughter was born, then another and – a third baby girl.'
Sympathetic murmurs came from all around the room, for everyone knew the problems with having daughters: dowries to be saved for, husbands to be sought, unwanted attentions from unsuitable males to be fought off, no brothers to protect the sisters, and nobody to carry on the family name!
'And then, by the grace of God, after nine more years – a baby boy! I travel the world with him now. Lives in Belgium, he does, where he can keep up his training.'
'We had a great town welcome for him, when was it, two years ago? Not last year I think.'
'No, last year my wife died. So, no celebrations. Next year, though. He'll be back.'
Then it was Cairoli's turn to see the doctor, and the waiting patients sat back and basked in the glory of the townsman who made it and the satisfaction of hearing of a dream that came true.
My husband broke the silence to tell us a story about a very rich and successful businessman who owned a factory in the north of Italy.
'He made his money bartering rice for steel. You know how the rice fields in our northern planes are so fertile? Well, he got a great deal. Then, with the steel he started a large valve factory in the mountains near Turin where I worked for a short time and became a multi millionaire. But in spite of all his money he had a desperate fear of growing old and sick. So, when the huge Ragno underwear manufacturers went bust he bought the factory and started building a state of the art health centre on the site, and went about engaging top specialist doctors from Switzerland. Unfortunately, before it was completed, he was driving into the site one day to inspect it when he crashed into a gatepost – and was killed instantly. He was only in his early fifties. The health centre never went ahead and his daughter and his son took over the valve factory. The son had a strange name, what was it now? Oh, yes, I remember. It was Fausto!'
'Ah,' I rose as it was our turn to see the doctor, 'If he was afraid of growing old, of course he would choose Faust.'
'Why, who's Faust?'
'Tell you later. Come on, we mustn't keep the doctor waiting.'

Thursday, September 5, 2013


by Madelaine Nerson MacNamara  ©2013

The guitar case
Bobs by your knee.
Orange street lights
Nest in puddles.

Striding the bridge
Near the courthouse
Do you wonder
Who'll dance tonight?