Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sang Réal

A Recipe

Take one winters day sliding sunset,
chop finely and brown in a large stockpot.
Add onions halved and sliced
and salty tang of tears drawn involuntarily.
Season with a smattering
of children chattering
about Halloween costumes
and add water.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently
on the stove of your soul.
Serve with a portion of nostalgia and
garnish with relatives.

Serves 12.

Another Meme

Borrowed from I didn't quite catch that

What curse word do you use the most?
variations of the f word. Swearing in Ireland is de rigeur ;¬)

Do you own an iPod?
A Creative Zen

Who on your MySpace “Top 8” do you talk to the most?
Nobody, don't do MySpace very much at all

What time is your alarm clock set for?
None at present during school holidays - hence the guilty feeling when I sleep past 9am

What color is your room?
Lilac. Haven't decorated since moving in last year, but its an okay colour.

Flip flops or sneakers?
Flips for hot days and sneakers for cold

What was the last movie you watched?

Do any of your friends have children?

Has anyone ever called you lazy?
Not really - I mean in my position with six kids, the cooking and washing...!

Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep faster?
No, I just read myself to sleep.
Occasionally if it's a good book I end up staying awake longer.

What CD is currently in your CD player?
Snow Patrol's earlier stuff which was re-released this year.
One or two really good tracks.

What DVD is currently in your DVD player?
Considering that the DVD player also functions as a PS2, it's actually a game that the kids (and I) like: The Hobbit.

Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk?
Regular milk.

Has anyone told you a secret this week?
Nope, but then I've probably forgot!

Have you ever given someone a hickey?
Love bites - yuk! Yes I have done that. It belongs to the teenage territory.

Who was the last person to call you?

Do you think people talk about you behind your back?
I don't really care either way.

Did you watch cartoons as a child?
Scooby Doo was a favourite as are Tom and Jerry cartoons. Still are in fact.

How many siblings do you have?

Are you shy around the opposite sex?
A little bit, yes/

What movie do you know every line to?
Monty Python's Holy Grail - a misspent youth

Do you own any band t-shirts?
I don't think I ever did.

What is your favorite salad dressing?
Olive oil and Lemon juice with worcester sauce

Do you read for fun?
And for study too.

Do you cry a lot?
Every once in a while

Who was the last person to text message you?

Do you have a desktop computer or a laptop?

Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoos?

What is the weather like?
Hot, with occaisional cloud

Would you ever date someone covered in tattoos?
No, it wouldn't appeal

Is sex before marriage wrong?

When was the last time you slept on the floor?
Does camping count? About two weeks ago

How many hours of sleep do you need to function?
At least eight!

Are you in love or lust?

Are your days full and fast-paced?
No, they sort of glide past in a ground hog sort of way - thats summer holidays and kids for you. Roll on September!

Do you pay attention to calories on the back of packages?
I tend to avoid packages in favour of real food.

How old will you be turning on your next birthday?
One never asks a lady her 'real' age!

Are you picky about spelling and grammar?
I try to be, but I'm sure I make mistakes

Have you ever been to Six Flags?
No. Where's that then?

Do you get along better with the same or opposite sex?
Not really much of a difference I'd say.

Do you like cottage cheese?
It's okay but I like lots of different cheeses

Do you sleep on your side, tummy, or back?
Side and tummy

Have you ever bid for something on eBay?
I got a book of Robert Graves' lectures there for about £1.
Never really bothered since.

Do you enjoy giving hugs?
All my kids are 'huggy monsters' so I guess I do.

What song did you last sing out loud?
I really can't remember.

What is your favorite TV show?
None really, I'm not watching it much this year.
West Wing at a push, but I think it's gone past it's sell-by now.

Which celebrity, dead or alive, would you want to have lunch with?
Oscar Wilde.

Last time you had butterflies in your stomach?
Going for a job interview. I got it too.

What one thing do you wish you had?

Favorite lyrics?
Nick Cave's "The Mercy Seat"

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Nothing Major to Report!

I have broken the back of both courses by now and have fifth (second last) assignment in the bag for The Nineteenth Century Novel course and am busy planning the sixth (and last) assignment for the Twentieth Century One. I am pleased to have even got this far, having spent the last three weeks seemingly marooned on a desert island with no fair wind to speak of, and some very ill-tempered children to boot.

That essay is to analyse passages from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and some poetry from Heaney’s New Selected Poems, 1966-1987, using the judging criteria for the Nobel Literature awards committee.

The trouble is there are two ways (of many I’m sure) that this could be argued. You could say that the vague line of Alfred Nobel’s will left interpretation wide open: "the candidate should have bestowed "the greatest benefit on mankind" – and the special condition for literature, "in an ideal direction" (possibly a good thing), or you could argue that the committee tends towards conservative choices with Beckett and Heaney appearing to reward that criteria (possibly a bad thing).

Oh the whole thing now seems so nebulous that I’m giving myself a headache!

I chose the Heaney/ Beckett option, thinking of it as a rehearsal for the final End of Course Assessment, thinking that looking into the judging of literature might open a few cracks for me with regard to that particular nut.

For that one, we must devise a literary prize of our own conditions; choose between Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah or The Ghost Road by Pat Barker (the third novel in her Regeneration trilogy) ; and then compare to a text chosen from the entire 20thC course (!) and then decide which book should win. All about literary decisions, and I am notoriously bad at making them.

So, first select your critical weapons and then try to use them, whilst aiming vaguely in the right direction – target practice anyone?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Need a Laugh?

The best laugh I've had all week - yes it is Monday, but it's been a long day!

Knitting Serpent

Knitting Serpent

For Penelope (after Paula Meehan)

Entranced, I used to watch your work
stretch on clicking pins of steel.
One day you taught me how to hold
the twist and make my own work grow.

She took the twine
into the darkened recesses,
wandering wildly

But I was always dropping stitches
that unfurled into gaping holes.
Carefully you’d unpick my work
start again and off I’d go.

from season to season.
looking back always,
to trace the twisted cord’s progress.

You set me later to make my own.
I came to hate July’s dead heat
knitting up the bargain yarns
just in time for schools return.

There was no end, no beginning
to her searching, groping blindly
Jane saw all ways - but remained mute,

Then came complicated patterns
a cable, moss stitch or herringbone.
Your tricks taught, corrections made
my new repertoire outgrew yours.

tongue-tied in the web of fine twist.
Her fingers grasped
aching for the end,

We knew my skill beyond yours
I faked your antique designs,
Yet you insisted on your stitches
knitted in the dullest twist.

the centre, the eye of calm.
There, only
the shattered symmetry,

Long, since after you unravelled
I still complicate time and stitch.
No threadbare yarn, no knots entangled –
tongue untied by wordy skein.

blood moon radiant.
Fingers crooked behind,
there wasn’t much left to see.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

That oul Meme thing!

BB's (Becoming Amethyst) take, then Paris Parfait -

10 Favourites

Favourite season: Very hard to decide- invariably not the one I’m in – Okay Winter
Favourite colour: Porphyry, closely followed by red
Favourite time: before sleep, that unaware/aware feeling before you fall a la Alice
Favourite food: Difficult there are so many – steak is good, but only occasionally
Favourite drink: water, alcoholic – beer but wine will do at a pinch
Favourite ice cream:
Vanilla – nice and simple
Favourite place: Paris/London and Dublin on a good day
Favourite sport:
anything that induces sweat!?!
Favourite actor: Johnny Depp
Favourite actress: Sissy Spacek

9 Currents

Current feeling: Relaxed (post assignment)
Current drink: Beer
Current time: 22:22 BST
Current show on TV: Who cares?
Current mobile used: Nokia
Current windows open: Many
Current underwear:
Pink stripey shorts
Current clothes: Long skirt and Purple t-shirt
Current thought: Thank god I made a start!

8 Firsts

First nickname: Barbara Woodhouse –she trained dogs. I didn’t realize the import until many years later
First kiss: yuk. It felt so mechanical
First crush: Nah!
First best friend(s): Mary – still best friends!
First vehicle I drove:
Father’s shiny Datsun
First job: Painting on tiles for a tile place!
First date: The local ballroom of romance…!
First pet: Dagobear – an Alsatian the same age as me

7 Lasts

Last drink: Beer
Last kiss: Eimear, my twin daughter
Last meal: Dinner – new potatoes, carrots, parsnips and medallions of bacon
Last web site visited: OU website
Last film watched: Like I have time to watch them!
Last phone call: Mother-in-law
Last TV show watched:Prison Break

6 Have you evers

Have you ever broken the law: All the time
Have you ever been drunk: Don’t get me started!
Have you ever kissed someone you didn't know: Lots of times
Have you ever been in the middle/close to gunfire: Yes, NI upbringing
Have you ever skinny dipped: Yup
Have you ever broken anyone's heart: Part of life, I guess.

5 Things

Things you can hear right now: Traffic, computer whirring, phone ringing, children squabbling, beer settling
Things on your bed: pillows, books, papers, personal radio to drown out noise, duvet
Things you ate today: weetabix, bread, ham, bacon, spuds,
Things you wouldn't want to live without: Words, yes, no, maybe, beer, love
Things you do when you are bored: Paint toenails, cut kids hair, read, listen, rant

4 Places you have been today

back garden

3 Things on your desk right now

Madame Bovary,
The Portrait of a Lady
Empty beer glass

2 Choices

Black or white: Err, grey
Hot or cold: Cold feet are better than post hot bath blood pressure! I’m learnin’

1 Place you want to visit

Machu Pichu

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Getting Paid!

Cheery news this weekend: I received a contributors copy of the latest issue of Southword, the Munster Literature Centre's biannual journal. They wrote to me in April, accepting a poem for publication.

The really nice surprise was the cheque for €15.00. My very first payment for writing poetry. I have received monies for reading it, but never for writing it!

The journal is a nice A5ish format, with poetry, short stories and essays by contemporary Irish writers. I see Laurence O' Dwyer's name more and more lately - he read with me last year in Dublin at Poetry Ireland's Introductions series, and was already generating interest then, because he had won the Hennessy/Sunday Independent prize for his work. He is quite prolific and turns up in quite regularly, as a travel writer, essayist as well as poet.

It's difficult to get hold of this journal so heres a sneak look:

was crucified
in my back garden.
I know! I’ve seen the
tall wooden cross withered
by sun, rain and age – and
the lines they stuck in
to feed him juice
when he was dying.

I forgive ‘em,
he cried,
for all their sins
I’ve died. I took it on
myself, to do this in memory
of you all.

No-one ever heard that
But the pylon remains.
Steel or wood – there it is
without complaint.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

This and That

"It's hot -- damn hot!" says Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam, a film I remember as being one of those must watches in my early twenties. And that just about describes the weather here at the moment.

I guess we are waiting for thunder, the way it seemed today as I drove from one seaside town to another, passing over higher ground. Normally I can see the mountains in the background behind the wide expanse of Dundalk bay as I return from Drogheda on the motorway. Not so today. Ireland was sweating so much that the heat haze reduced visibility to about twenty miles!

So, is that it? Another post about the weather - how boring. Maybe so.

Oranges and cream
ingredients for a long forgotten
recipe, the lack of leading
to a telling off.
First year domestic science
retorted sharply, “don’t let this be
the fourth week that you fail to bring
anything to cook.”

At home,
the quiet report faced a last straw,
a tidal simulacrum of possession.
The companies of hosts, the world’s politicians,
prime ministers, personalities, all drew up
at her shoulders as she glowered and spat
a final threat and the final riposte,
“Where would you buy
bloody oranges round here?”

Down the green verge road, past the local shop yard
and keep on going. Point your compass
south east, past the lake at Drumbee, a narrow road
leading through the falling tree shadows
as hours drip the leaden tears into silence
soaking slowly up the last few miles.

A car coming closer, you recognise the driver
as it pulls in.
“You’ll have to go back,” he said,
“You can’t leave.”