Over four nights, I read The Old Man and The Sea to the two brothers, twenty-five pages before they went to bed. I did wonder at their eyes staring into corners of the room, seeming to follow spiders, or shadows, sometimes a hand reaching absently for another Ginger Snap. Were they listening at all, or were they … Continue reading Destroyed but Not Defeated
I visited Heaney’s grave with my friend last week. First, we went to The Homeplace, the arts centre in Bellaghy that celebrates his poetry. I’d been before and I love it. Loved seeing how a poem moves through multiple iterations of scoring and scribbles and shifting around before he gets to something he’s happy with. … Continue reading Seamus Heaney’s Grave
There are four of them in the shed. For nine months of the year, they languish, the cobwebs build until May or June when they are taken out, one by one – rickety, arthritic, creaking – and are wheeled around the back lawn like an invalid in rehab. An assessment of what needs done to … Continue reading Eight Wheels
Heat shimmers on the ocean and the ferry pulls away from the land and dolphins dive the length of Lough Ryan only to disappear when we reach the wide-open Irish Sea. Once docked, I drive to the Antrim coast, arriving before dark, dizzy from not having drunk enough water on the journey and I fall … Continue reading July Holidays
On the fun to be had in falling into water.
What difference would it have made to Tarry Flynn had he got himself onto a dating app? That is the question I keep turning over in my mind. Tarry is the main character of the eponymously titled Patrick Kavanagh novel that I am re-reading after twenty-five years. Published in 1948, it was banned for fourteen … Continue reading Meet Me at the Crossroads
Every time I phone her, she is peeling onions. I know this because she says, I’m peeling onions, and the tone of her voice is far from joyful. I ask her what she’s making, and she says, I don’t know yet, but everything starts with an onion. And I say, that’s a good line, it … Continue reading The World is Just a Great Big Onion
The light is coming!
I left school thirty years ago. Thrown on life’s waves – that’s how I looked upon it. It was a fracture, something daunting, a major life change to be survived rather than to be relished. At least that’s how I think I felt, memory does play funny tricks on the truth. I loved school; I … Continue reading From The Bottom Of My Pencil Case
I’m still in Ireland, spending time between two houses that are located close together, one perpendicular to the other, each with a flow of people coming and going as regular as the rise and fall of the tide. Coriander: that was the first thing the child called for at tea-time, which he got. Five minutes … Continue reading Neighbour