The Most Uplifting Poem I Know

There is no poem that I find fresher, more uplifting and inspirational than this one from Ireland’s Brendan Kennelly whose poetry, voice and smile are legendary.


Begin again to the summoning birds

to the sight at the light at the window,

begin to the roar of morning traffic

all along Pembroke Road.

Every beginning is a promise

born in light and dying in dark

determination and exhaltation of springtime

flowering the way to work.

Begin to the pageant of queuing girls

the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal

bridges linking the past and future

old friends passing through with us still.

Begin to the loneliness that cannot end

since it perhaps is what makes us begin,

begin to wonder at unknown faces

at crying birds in the sudden rain

at branches stark in the willing sunlight

at seagulls foraging for bread

at couples sharing a sunny secret

alone together while making good.

Though we live in a world that dreams of ending

that always seems about to give in

something that will not acknowledge conclusion

insists that we forever begin. 

From: The Essential Brendan Kennelly: Selected Poems (2011) edited by Terence Brown and Michael Longley ( Bloodaxe Books)

What’s your choice for ‘most uplifting poem?’
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Early Retirement or Giving Up?

WaveHaving spent the best part of 4 years trying to find meaningful and suitable employment and having spent every euro of my savings in said quest ~ travelling to conferences, seminars and workshops to learn, keep abreast of new learning and network; paying subscriptions to professional bodies; trying to keep a ‘professional wardrobe,’ I have finally decided that the time has come to re-label myself as Retired.

I haven’t taken this decision lightly, I can tell you, and know that I still have a lot to offer the world, aged 56,  through having a PhD in Sociology and Social Policy and years of work experience as a Social Researcher and Academic Tutor.

It’s funny how particular decisions that I took along the way have been playing on my mind of late ~ like the day I walked out of the Civil Service Exams when I was in my final year of College. It was a very conscious decision but who knows what might have happened had I stayed in that huge hall with the hundreds of other serious-looking candidates eager to land a permanent pensionable post.  Or how about taking time out to care for my elderly parents while the Celtic Tiger was still roaring?  (No, I have no regrets about that, not a single one!).

Ironically, the very first ‘real’  job I had was facilitating a Return to Work Course for Women when I had just finished my primary degree, aged 21. It was one helluva challenge, given my lack of  insight into the world of work and life except through theoretical eyes, but it was a very enjoyable and well-paid learning experience.

Interestingly, I could get as much unpaid ‘work’ as I want now  and was even offered a 40 hour a week  ‘job’ for no pay and a vague promise of it maybe turning into something. The thing is, I simply can’t afford to work for nothing. 

So, I’m taking Early Retirement. It may not change a thing in objective or financial terms (no golden handshake or pension here!) ; but it gives me a sense of taking back control. There is a limit to the number of punches one can take to the gut and I know that I’ve done all I can, with my innate tenacity, in terms of knocking on doors, building new ones and all that stuff.

So, today is the first day of the rest of my life ~ not a day I envisaged coming, or wanted to come, as early in my life as this.

Little did I ever think I’d be quoting this old saying but then whoever knows what lies ahead!

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
(R. Niebuhr)


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Mount Congreve Garden was bathed in dew when I arrived early last Saturday. It was overcast and I wanted to soak in the colour of the place that is such an essential part of my week.  In all the years, Mount Congreve has never, ever disappointed me. As I was driving out there, I was thinking of the wondrous way in which each visit involves having one’s gaze lured to new corners, nooks and crannies as nature’s spotlights guide the way.

I don’t know about you but I’ve been fortunate enough to meet people who have a depth, range and allure than makes them people for all seasons, just as Mount Congreve is a garden for all seasons. Here’s a hint of the splendour that awaited me:

Here’s the link to Mount Congreve’s Website, should you wish to visit over the Easter Weekend or beyond.




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A Passion for Buoys

The Metal Man from Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford.

The Metal Man from Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by buoys and have a vast collection of a whole array of vibrant colours.

They make me think of an artist’s palette as well as the human hands that have touched them. In so many ways, they are like messages in bottles and one day, I hope to find one that has a real live message on it so that I can write back to the sender, wherever he or she may be.

Yesterday, I saw my precious Tramore Bay very much through the eyes of a buoy! I often wonder how it is that they never clash with their surroundings.

Brownstown Head from Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford.

Brownstown Head from Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford.


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My Turn of the Year Moment

Garrarus Beach, Co. Waterford

Garrarus Beach, Co. Waterford

I guess everyone has ‘a turn of the year’ event and for me it is my first evening swim and last night that moment was realised with perfection.

Happy Times! Photo: Harry Fox

Happy Times!
Photo: Harry Fox

Sunset is at approximately 8.30pm here so we took a family trip to Garrarus shortly before that with two of the dogs in tow.

The beach was empty; the sea was calm and the light was stunning. It was all very heaven and made even more so by the arrival of Liam, who lives nearby, and who was as friendly, affable and appreciative of  ‘our’ beloved Garrarus as always.

Yes, an evening dip to remember and savour. Summer is definitely just over the horizon but how could one not love the splash up to it ~ that glorious anticipation …..

Shades of Summer

Shades of Summer

What’s YOUR ‘turn of the year’ moment?

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Does Your Attire Impact on Your Blogging Style?

I ask this question in all seriousness and I’d love to know if you have ‘gear’ that you generally wear when you are writing your posts.

I confess that I have never written a post while all dressed up. I have to be in my relaxed clothes and by that I tend to mean, pjs and dressing gown, or layers of clothes to keep me nice and snug if I’m just back from a swim in the sea and full of inspiration. The pic above gives a general idea of what I’m talking about but I certainly wouldn’t have the nail varnish …..

Does what you wear have an effect on what you write? I think it probably does as we (I) feel and think differently depending on what we’re (I’m) wearing. I think I feel more in touch with the real me when I’m not in professional attire, such as a suit and high heels. I can’t imagine what I might write if I wasn’t in relaxed mode ~ perhaps much more work-oriented stuff and that would mean sociology and social policy material which matters hugely to me but which has never really found its way in a formal way onto Social Bridge.

So, what about you? What’s your feel about all this? I came across an ‘update’ from a connection on Linkedin today that simply said: I never wear a tie, should I? Clearly there are lots of different approaches to style in terms of clothes and writing so let’s explore it a little!

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Gadgets for Blogging

This is my first ever post from anything other than my desktop or a laptop. I’m working on hubby’s phone and am wondering now to what extent other bloggers operate from what seem like very new-fangled gadgets to me. I’m intrigued as I suspect desktops, especially, are like yesterday’s news or even ‘way back when stuff.’

I wrote the above yesterday when separated from my desktop but I’m more curious than ever now that I’m back in my natural habitat.

I tried uploading a photo of a cherry blossom that I took on the phone but ran out of battery so here’s a blast of green from my recent archives.


(And that’s another thing, do you feel that a post is naked without a photo or two. I reckon that the nakedness I feel when I don’t have a photo or two in a post is the nearest thing to what I suspect people who wear make-up must feel when they have to face the world without it.)

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