Today is a Public Holiday here in Ireland and the last before Christmas, So I went out this morning for a long walk with The Dog. The Weather is very wintry with heavy rain, perfect weather to get some moody Images as I walked along some of our local country lanes.
The Seasons are turning very quickly now and winter is coming, these walks will be cold and wet for a few weeks, yet this time of year brings its own atmosphere, one that I love very much. Its great to return home put the fire on and have a hot drink or some warm soup.
Against Winter –
The truth is dark under your eyelids.
What are you going to do about it?
The birds are silent; there’s no one to ask.
All day long you’ll squint at the gray sky.
When the wind blows you’ll shiver like straw.
A meek little lamb you grew your wool
Till they came after you with huge shears.
Flies hovered over open mouth,
Then they, too, flew off like the leaves,
The bare branches reached after them in vain.
Winter coming. Like the last heroic soldier
Of a defeated army, you’ll stay at your post,
Head bared to the first snow flake.
Till a neighbor comes to yell at you,
You’re crazier than the weather, Charlie.
CAPTAIN OF THE LIGHTHOUSE
By : Togara Muzanenhamo
The late hour trickles into morning. The cattle low profusely by the anthill
where brother and I climb and call Land’s End. We are watchmen
overlooking a sea of hazel-acacia-green, over torrents of dust whipping about
in whirlwinds and dirt tracks that reach us as firths.
We man our lighthouse – cattle as ships. We throw warning lights whenever
they come too close to our jagged shore. The anthill, the orris-earth
lighthouse, from where we hurl stones like light in every direction.
Tafara stands on its summit speaking in sea-talk, Aye-aye me lad – a ship’s a-
coming! And hurls a rock at the cow sailing in. Her beefy hulk jolts and turns.
Aye, Captain, another ship saved! I cry and furl my fingers into an air-long
telescope – searching for more vessels in the day-night.
Now they low on the anthill, stranded in the dark. Their sonorous cries haunt
through the night. Aye, methinks, me miss my brother, Captain of the
lighthouse, set sail from land’s end into the deepest seventh sea.
I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
Reviewed by Emily Ardag
I hope you all enjoy this beautiful poem by Welsh poet, R. S. Thomas. Thomas was an anglican priest, as well as a poet, but I think this piece is full of profound wisdom for everyone, regardless of creed.
The Bright Field speaks about those shining moments in life — moments of grace, beauty, inspiration, epiphany — where we fleetingly encounter the divine or feel a deep connection to the universe. This image of the bright field evokes for me various ideas: the moment you see your child’s face for the first time, the moment you realise you’ve fallen in love, or when you read and understand some complicated scientific theory about the universe, become transfixed by Shakespeare or an incredible piece of music… or, of course, when you pray or meditate, and feel a connection to the divine.
The poet confides that he has often seen the sun “illuminate a small field” for a moment, and continued on his way and “forgotten it”. But, says Thomas, he knows that that field was “the pearl of great price”; that moment was something rare and beautiful, to hold on to and spend your life searching for. He is admitting here that he has experienced moments of profound connection to God, but that he has proceeded to move on, without dwelling on it. However, he has now come to realise that he must “give all that I have/ To possess” that moment — that “bright field” — again.
Another quality of these “bright” moments becomes clear as we enter the second stanza; the poem says that life is not “hurrying on/ to a receding future” or “hankering after/ and imagined past”. These lines deliver to me the notion that these bright moments of grace are in fact moments where we are intensely present. These are the moments we are most alive, and when we feel most connected to life, the universe, and/or God. This is as relevant for prayer and meditation as it is for all the other instances I have mentioned where one might experience a moment of exhilarating and glorious connection to the universe.
The poem ends with the beautiful image of the burning bush from the story of Moses. Thomas tells us that life — and these moments — is about “turning/ like Moses to the miracle/ of the lit bush”. Again, there is a real sense of intense presence in this image. I think the way the bright light — which is God, and grace — is described in the final lines is just exquisite: though it had once seemed “as transitory as your youth”, it is in fact “the eternity that awaits you.”
This photo was taken one Monday morning at a small bay on lake Windermere in the lake district national park, Windermere is some 18km long and at it widest some 2km wide. Its one of the most beautiful places I know and if you can spend sometime here at Windermere , you will find many wonderful locations just to sit and read and study the wildlife and nature it offers.
Even just to sit and look at these two boats moving slowly in the water is something I will always remember.
So then lake Windermere and two boats and one clear relaxed mind!
Water, giver of life
Water, is a great necessity, without it nothing can live. Only earth and water can bring forth a living soul. Such is the greatness of water that spiritual regeneration cannot be done without it.
Thales of Miletus concluded that water was the beginning of all things and the first of all elements and most potent because of its mastery over the rest. Pliny said “Water swallow up the earth, extinguishes the flame, ascends on high, and by stretching forth as clouds challenges the heavens for their own, and the same falling down, becomes the cause of all things that grow in the earth.
Water is a cleansing, healing, psychic, and loving element. It is the feeling of friendship and love that pours over us when we are with our family, friends and loved ones. When we swim it is water that supports us, when we are thirsty, it is water the quenches our thirst, another manifestation of this element is the rainstorms that drench us, or the dew formed on plants after the sun has set.
The power of the energy of Water, can be felt by tasting pure spring water, moving you hand through a stream, lake, pool, or bowl full of water. You can feel its cool liquidity; it’s soft and loving touch, this motion and fluidity is the quality of Air within Water. This Water energy is also contained within ourselves, our bodies being mostly composed of Water.
As well as being vital for life, within the energy of this element is contained the essence of love. Love is the underlying reason for all magic. Water is love.
Water is a feminine element, it also the element of emotion and subconscious, of purification, intuition, mysteries of the self, compassion and family. It is psychic ability; water can be used as a means of scrying or as an object for meditation. Water is important in spells and rituals of friendship, marriage, happiness, fertility, healing, pleasure, psychic abilities and spells involving mirrors.
The element of Water and the pagan Irish Goddess : Boann and the Irish God : Nechtan
eltic (Irish) Goddess of the River Boyne and mother of Angus Mac Og by the Dagda. She was the wife of Nechtan, a god of the water. Likewise, Boann was herself a water-goddess, and one of her myths concerns the water. According to legend, there was a sacred well (Sidhe Nechtan) that contained the source of knowledge. All were forbidden to approach this well, with the exception of the god Nechtan (as was noted, Boann’s husband) and his servants. Boann ignored the warnings, and strode up to the sacred well, thus violating the sanctity of the area. For this act, she was punished, and the waters of the defiled well swelled and were transformed into a raging river, a river that pursued her. In some versions, she was drowned; while in others, she managed to outrun the currents. In either case, this water became the river that was known henceforth as the Boyne, and Boann thereafter became the presiding deity.
Another aspect of the myth of Boann is that she bore Angus. She and the All father of the Tuatha De Danaan, the Dagda, engaged in an illicit affair that resulted in the birth of this god of love. However, since both Boann and the Dagdha wished to keep their rendezvous a secret, they used their divine powers to cause the nine month gestation period to last but a single day – or so it seemed, for the sun was frozen in the sky for those nine months, never setting and never rising. On this magical day, Angus emerged into the world. She held the powers of healing. Variants: Boannan, Boyne.
Ref : Pagan elements of Water
St John’s Point Lighthouse, Donegal
Last week I changed my blog header to an image of St, Johns Point Lighthouse in county Donegal, so I though I would just share some details about this great place.
Its an amazing lighthouse at the mouth of Donegal bay and like many Lighthouses it was build through hard work and taking a risk with time and money, followed with many years of hard work and care in order to keep it running so that many lives could be saved.
From the Commissioners of Irish Lights
This is a harbour light used to guide from Donegal Bay, it marks the north side of the bay leading to Killybegs Harbour from the entrance up to Rotten Island.
The Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin (the Ballast Board) received a request on 24 February 1825 signed by merchants and traders of Killybegs requesting a light on St John’s Point. This was not approved until April 1829, and Trinity House gave their statutory sanction the following month.
The tower, built of cut granite, was designed by the Board’s Inspector of Works and Inspector of Lighthouses, George Halpin, and erected by the Board’s workmen under Halpin’s supervision.
The tower, painted white, had a first order catoptric fixed light 98 feet above high water with a visibility in clear weather of 14 miles. The light was first used on 4 November 1831 with the buildings in an uncompleted state. The final cost at the end of 1833 was £10,507.8.5.
A Fellow Man
A Humanist Poem : Tom White
I have no prayers or charms of faith
If God there be, He’ll know my weight
If God be nought, I’ll still do good
And practice justice as I should
We should not seek reward to do
What decency expects us to
Should Heaven be a kingly court
I’ll go elsewhere to prove my worth
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve sought belief
But lust for faith brought no relief
Mere logic leaves me where I stand
I am not blest, nor am I damned
I seek to do what good I can
I am your friend, a fellow man.
Connemara National Park, Image Gallery
Situated in the West of Ireland in County Galway is the Connemara National Park, covering 2,957 hectares of the most scenic Landscape in Ireland , including mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands. Some of the Park’s mountains, namely Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack and Muckanaght, are part of the famous Twelve Bens or Beanna Beola range.
The Connemara National Park was established and opened to the public in 1980.
Much of the present Park lands formed part of the Kylemore Abbey Estate and the Letterfrack Industrial School, the remainder having been owned by private individuals. The southern part of the Park was at one time owned by Richard (Humanity Dick) Martin who helped to form the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals during the early 19th century. The Park lands are now wholly owned by the State and managed solely for National Park purposes.
Here I just wanted to Share a sense of this amazing National Park, using just some of the images I took during my last visit.
West of Galway lies a land
Scorched by the chill of northern winds
Where ancient hills stoically contemplate
Their grey reflections in dark, misty lakes
Roiling stormclouds serve as the canvas
For a monochromatic panorama
That lulls the local folk
Into an inescapable monotony
Their lilting language itself
A murmur that recalls the falling rain
The plodding passage of days
In this dreary, silent landscape
Is a hell all its own
For those accustomed
To urban bustle
But the natives of this grey land
Sing bright céilí songs
Drink their lager by golden firelight
Dance reels and jigs
And tell stories of a time
When giants roamed the hillocks
And heroes sailed the roaring seas
In search of mythic monsters
Descended from hearty stock
Of shepherds and saints
These rustic people still regard
The old ways as new
Discover their future through their past
And are never bored
As long as there’s a tale to be told
A smile to take in
Or a pint to share with a friend
Children of the Gaeltacht
Sing your songs
Remind me once again
Of that night in Ballyconneely
When I was one of you
The Sound of the Sea
By : Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
And round the pebbly beaches far and wide
I heard the first wave of the rising tide
Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep;
A voice out of the silence of the deep,
A sound mysteriously multiplied
As of a cataract from the mountain’s side,
Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep.
So comes to us at times, from the unknown
And inaccessible solitudes of being,
The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul;
And inspirations, that we deem our own,
Are some divine foreshadowing and foreseeing
Of things beyond our reason or control.
The Bridge Builder
By William Allen Dromgoole
An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a Valley vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen stream
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A person whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired person may a pitfall be;
They, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”
By: George Cooper
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came—
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.
Then, in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played,
The party closed at sundown,
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly “hands around.”
Reflection – A Poem by Paul Hansford
Still waters, deep,
surface like glass reflecting green above;
and below are trees, sky,
shadows, leaves, sunlight,
moving and motionless.
Here silent images shimmer now,
and – air breathing suddenly – break.
Unbidden feelings confuse
reality and fantasy.
Which is which?
Fantasy and reality confuse;
feelings unbidden break, suddenly breathing air;
and now shimmer images,
silent here, motionless
(sunlight leaves shadows) .
Sky, trees are
below – and above –
green, reflecting, glass-like surface.
Deep waters, still.
The following Poem is based on the great TV series “Game of Thrones”!
To : Game of Thrones
18 July 2013 · Barrie, Canada ·
A Game of Thrones (Poem) by James J. A. Gray
Summer is swiftly ending,
Its warm sunny days are past;
Life grows short in this time of changing seasons.
Gone are the Wolves in the North,
Their howling song drowned out in blood and betrayal;
Gone is the galloping of horses in the west,
Only echoes and mirages remain in the dust and sand;
Gone is the royal stag;
The proud beast laid low.
Here now Lions rule a liar’s kingdom
While the spider weaves its intricate web,
And the Mockingbird sings many songs in eager ears,
And the fear of recurring myth hangs heavy
Over an Iron Throne with
Fire and Brimstone, Scales, and Wings.
The sun fades slowly in the west,
The bird-song grows quiet each passing day,
And the blue turns to gray as the sky darkens.
The days grow shorter.
The nights grow longer.
A chill settles in,
Descending from the North like a great beast toward the wall and the Black,
And with it the White and the Wildlings,
And the wind, and Snow.
Winter is coming.
Ever since I started watching Game of Thrones, I could not help but relate it to the amazing history that surrounds us here in Ireland, the Landscape is filled with ruins of long ago, Wars from the distant past. Viking invasions and hundreds of years of the Normans, French Lords who ruled over these Lands. Game of Thrones is mainly based around life in the North and South of What is now the United Kingdom along with looking to the lands of the east, but Ireland was ruled by exactly the same powers in the periods covered by the Historic settings behind the Game of Thrones and would have fallen under the same kingdoms.
Carey’s Castle in just one of these places, a reminder of the past, it rests in woodlands near Clonmel in Co. Tipperary, on the banks of the Glenary River, running past the castle and adding to a very peaceful atmosphere here. To locate it you walk for around 500m down a wonderful woodland trail, it is well worth the effort when the trees part and Carey’s Castle appears before your eyes.
Carey’s Castle, Gallery
Monday the 5th of October !
Monday Mornings are always a little like stepping onto a beach in the early Morning light, you wonder what you will find as you walk through the dunes and take your first steps into the sand. Many – many times you have been here before but seeing the beach again each morning you never now what has changed over night.
New drift wood, the ripples in the sand from the overnight tide and foot steps left by other early morning walkers, all these things will change the path you have to take as you take your own walk!
A Poem for Sunday evening !
Who Has Seen the Wind?
By Christina Rossetti
Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.
Source: The Golden Book of Poetry (1947)
During a recent walk up to the top of our Local Mountain (Slievenamon, county Tipperary), I came across many great examples of the art of Rock Balancing, Sadly whoever it was that had spent so much time putting these sculptures together had already left so I could not get any pictures of them working so creatively.
I still got lots of images and just wanted to share them here as a record of such great acts of creativity. The thing that impressed me the most was not so much each sculpture ( Although each was great to see ! ) but the number of them and what better location for them than the roof of the world , the very top of Slievenamon the spiritual home for anyone from county Tipperary.
Molly is our 12 and 1/2 year old Golden retriever and she loves nothing more than being in and around water – as often as she can !!! Rivers, Lakes, and the Sea. I often think that if it was not for her I would not have visited as many wonderful places here in Ireland, just trying to keep her walked and fit!!!, but being over 12 years old now, she has slowed down a little but still loves her swimming and coastal visits.
I also love visiting the Irish coastline, our nearest locations are along the county Waterford coast, with its rocky small coves and caves its just a perfect and dramatic coastline in many ways.
October is a great month for these visits as the mornings bring rolling in sea mists and dramatic waves as the temperatures slide slowly into the winter months …..
A walk along the Waterford coast line : Gallery