Connemara, Co. Galway
Mary O’Malley is truly the person who has written Connemara, her writing laced with the fierce beauty of the landscape, and the sounds of the sea. In ‘Porpoises’ she sends our minds out to sea from the most westerly point of the county:
The sky is close.
Out from the once manned rock
White electric light
Arcs over the Water
Difficult not to agree with her when she states that the sea is “just the place from which all things make sense”.
Pierce Hutchinson, also writing on Connemara, said:
There are chinks between
the neat stones to let the wind through safe,
You can see the blue sun through them.
But coming eastward in the same county,
the walls grow higher, dark grey;
an ugly grey. And the chinks disappear:
through those walls you can see nothing.
Perhaps our poetic landscapes remind us of that – to keep our hearts alert for experiences of water, wind and wonder.
We are like the Dreamer …….
By Arthur O’Shaughnessy
We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;
World losers and world forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world’s great cities.
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire’s glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song’s measure
Can trample an empire down.
We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.
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 Harbour, Poem
By : Winifred Mary Letts
I think if I lay dying in some land
Where Ireland is no more than just a name,
My soul would travel back to find that strand
From whence it came.
The fishing boat rests along the shore,
The grey thorn bushes growing in the sand,
Our Wexford coast from Arklow to Cahore –
My native land.
The little houses climbing up the hill
Sea daises growing in the sandy grass,
The tethered goats that wait large -eyed and still
To watch you pass.
The women at the well with dripping pails,
Their men colloguing by the harbour wall,
The coils of rope, the nets, the old brown sails,
I’d know them all.
And then the sun- I’d surely see
The disk against a golden sky.
Would let me be at my rest.
The Water Replies
Maybe we have washed our hands
and drunk deep and swam
and think we know her,
but water’s reputation goes before her like a flood:
she does not suffer fools or gadflies.
Therefore I have prepared some questions.
Where do you get your ideas & your tide from?
Don’t say the moon – that’s really pretentious.
But as I clamber down the coast
I lose my footing and spend our allotted time
tossed around in her backwash,
pummelled by tiny stones.
When I am baptised I ask the water
Where have the demons gone?
Were they hiding behind the H, the 2 or the O?
I emerge finally able to see that I have not changed,
that I can of myself do nothing, that water decides.
On the towpath behind the church
I wring out my jacket. I ask the water:
Will you convey these thoughts away?
These itching hatreds, toothache of jealousy,
These squalid appetites and dog thirsts?
Just as far as the next city will do.
The ripples of the moon’s tablature.
When was the last time you cried, and why?
I ask the water. I ask the water:
Do you have plans later?
I came from the sunny valleys
And sought for the open sea,
For I thought in its gray expanses
My peace would come to me.
I came at last to the ocean
And found it wild and black,
And I cried to the windless valleys,
“Be kind and take me back!”
But the thirsty tide ran inland,
And the salt waves drank of me,
And I who was fresh as the rainfall
Am bitter as the sea.
Sara Teasdale :
It rattles the shingly beach of my childhood,
Subtle, the opposite of the earth,
And, unlike earth, capable
Any time at all of proclaiming eternity
Like something or someone to whom
We have to surrender, finding
Through that surrender life.
Louis MacNeice 1907-1963