Flotsam and Jetsam

I go to Woodstown Beach here in Co. Waterford when I get a hankering for sea shells and, if I’m honest, a place that will comfort me in ways that nowhere else can.

Woodstown is different to my other beaches. It doesn’t have the wildness of Tramore or Garrarus, about which I write so often, because it lies just within the Waterford Estuary. Sometimes, we need a calm oasis and that’s exactly what Woodstown represents for me and maybe thousands more. This isn’t quite the conversation one tends to have with passing strangers!

Woodstown didn’t disappoint when I ventured there a few days ago but it threw up an image that simply won’t leave me. There among the shells was a piece of a willow-patterned plate, or maybe a cup, that I associate so much with growing up and with the intensely beautiful poetry of the late Sean Dunne who is arguably Co. Waterford’s most renowned poet.

Woodstown Beach, Co. Waterford
Woodstown Beach, Co. Waterford

Here is the poem that immediately sprang to mind:

Tea Room
Let it be solitary
as a cottage on a beach.
Let no sword sully
this abode of vacancy.
With linen napkin
and bamboo dipper,
let it be a shrine
for the ordinary,
for talk of tea
and the taking of tea,
best made with water
from a mountain spring. 
(from: Sean Dunne: Collected , 2005, edited by Fallon, P., Gallery Press)

It is so good to know that Sean Dunne’s genius will be lovingly remembered at the forthcoming Waterford Writers’ Weekend which runs from March 20-23rd.