Donald, Pope Francis and Me

Things went a bit quiet on the Donald-front here in Ireland after all the hullabaloo over the lewd tape and the final debate. It seemed that it was game, set, and match to Hillary and that Donald had gone off in a sulk. But yesterday, it seemed that maybe the silence was akin to that you associate with a toddler who is up to mischief. We suddenly started hearing about Florida and the gap closing and that maybe he’s bouncing back with a chance.  All I could think was how appealing the Moon or, better still Mars, suddenly appeared, even if it meant being all cooped up, floating around and living on what I assume would be lots of pop-a-pill and sips of stale water.

I was over at the John F. Kennedy  Arboretum in Co. Wexford recently to see the Autumn tints. The trees were magnificent and I couldn’t but think of how JFK was, rightly or wrongly revered in Ireland. (I somehow don’t think Donald would ever get to the ‘r’ of ‘revered.’)

Meanwhile, Pope Francis’ latest ‘edict,’ or whatever you call it, on cremated ashes has really upset me in a roundabout way. I’m not into religion, as you know, but the Pope’s new ruling that cremated ashes must be kept intact in a consecrated place has led to a lot of discussion in Ireland about cremation itself. The tone of the radio discussions that I happened to hear were horrible and cremation was made to seem like a cheapy, impersonal, rushed process. Many of my loved ones have been cremated and I have to say that I have never, ever felt any sense of the kind of stuff I was hearing yesterday.

Pope Francis can say what he likes about cremated ashes, but I certainly hope that mine will be scattered in some wild place by the sea, as I have requested.

The thing about all this is that we’ve got to realise that our time on earth, no matter who we are ~ you, me, The Pope, The President of The United States ~  is very finite and basically like a heartbeat. But how we use that heartbeat does matter ~ as we are not islands and other people will be coming along after us.

The Essential Christmas Gift for Every Child


I took this quince photograph a few weeks back at the magnificent John F. Kennedy Arboretum in Co. Wexford. The minute I saw it, I was reciting the final stanza of Edward Lear’s (1871) The Owl and the Pussy Cat to myself:

“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Santa never failed to bring me books of nursery rhymes and children’s poetry. I still have them all and love delving into them as they bring me back to those happy days looking at the colourful pictures and listening to Mother reading everything from Jack and Jill  to The Highwayman as I drifted off to sleep.

It was these hours of shared reading that sowed the seed for the passion for poetry that has been such a part of me all my life.

May I suggest that just in case Santa doesn’t have enough books to go round that anyone who has young children in their lives (and I mean from babyhood onwards) makes sure that a book of nursery rhymes or children’s poetry is among the gifts that are beneath the tree on Christmas morning.

They are presents for life in a host of ways and are not just Treasuries; they are treasures that will  set little imaginations alight.

What’s your favourite nursery rhyme or children’s poem? 

Unlocking November

John F. Kennedy Arboretum, Co. Wexford
John F. Kennedy Arboretum, Co. Wexford

This scene in the John F. Kennedy Arboretum in Co. Wexford this afternoon unlocked my door into November and the remainder of this year. It was a calm and peaceful unlocking.

Who knows what lies ahead? Who wants to know?

But, I guess we all have hopes. Mine relate to health, happiness and peace at both a personal and a WORLDWIDE level.

I’d like to feel that the wooden seat will be a place where people will stop awhile and draw breath. I’d also like it to be a seat where the lonely find companionship; enemies see paths to peaceful resolutions; lovers grow in trust; friends support each other; strangers exchange smiles; artists find inspiration; and each moment spent there is truly treasured.

May November bring you health, hope and happiness and a sense of connection to the magic of nature.