Life is confusing, demanding, complicated – or so I think, most of the time. Then I have the occasional thought otherwise, smoky thoughts that I can never quite pin down. I’ve tried to explain it here in fourteen lines. Simple, by Eimear Bush We make a meal of this life thing With four pots on … Continue reading Simple
Where Have All The Good People Gone?
Only the good die young; it’s an idea that has been around forever, or since about 445 BC, when dying young must have been a lot more common than it is today. The origins of the saying go way back to a proverb by Herodotus, who, all those millennia ago, wrote: ‘Whom the Gods love … Continue reading Where Have All The Good People Gone?
Auden, Barrett-Browning, Cope, Dickinson, Eliot, Frost, Gallagher, Heaney, Ibsen, Jamie, Kinnell, Larkin, Mahon, Neruda, Owen, Plath, Qabbani, Rossetti, St Vincent Millay, Thomas, Updike, Vaughan, Wordsworth, Xenokleides, Yeats, Zephaniah. Who is your favourite? Feel free to reach beyond the 26 I’ve offered you; I was just playing the alphabet game, and, in doing so, left out … Continue reading Advent
Twenty years ago, about this time of year, I was sitting on the second floor of a fire escape on the gable end of a large red-bricked terrace in South Belfast. As usual, S. was with me; we shared the flat, and were making plans for a joint birthday party later in the autumn. It … Continue reading Black Mountain
Silence Is Golden
I’m on the back foot, caught short, running out of time. It’s not the bathroom I’m in need of - not that kind of caught short. I need to read a book by 7pm this evening when the first gathering of my new book group is scheduled. (Question to self: why are you writing this … Continue reading Silence Is Golden
“Of course you can stay, come on over.” The exodus had begun. Edinburgh was on shutdown as offices emptied out early in an attempt to get their workers home before 3pm when all public transport would grind to a halt. E. and S. had missed the last train out to East Lothian. A plan was … Continue reading Clunk
What do you do when awful things happen in the world and you want to make a change but you feel utterly powerless? Perhaps you believe anything you might try wouldn’t make any difference anyway? Do you have a quiet moment in the bathroom and cry? Do you write a letter? Share a clip on … Continue reading Do Something
In the morning I’ve taken to lying in the dark for a while before I get up. I listen to the birds outside and try to decipher what they have to tell me about the day ahead. “Stay in bed, it’s freezing out here,” is what I’ve been hearing a lot of lately. I’m using … Continue reading Winged Messengers
Devil In The Detail
‘The devil is in the detail’ - it’s an awfully cautious expression. Used to alert us to tripwires made from words, to snare traps hidden in contracts or agreements. It makes an assumption that ‘they’ are out to get you in the small print. I don't think it’s a great training for life if we … Continue reading Devil In The Detail
“When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss.” So said poet and novelist Boris Pasternak. I surely don't want to miss my ‘great moment’ and have it slip by unnoticed, do you? But if … Continue reading Quiet