It’s an Ill Wind …

The Promenade here in Tramore has become extremely popular during the Covid period and the Bay has been buzzing with surfers for the last few months, especially.

This evening it was all a lot quieter because the weather had been iffy all day but the strong wind had brought out some wind-surfers who added extra colour to the scene that is ever-changing and divine in all weathers.

Tramore Bay, Co. Waterford

Every time I look out towards the horizon, I think of lines from John Keats’ Ode to the Sea:

Oh ye, who have your eyeballs vexed and tired,

Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea;

-John Keats-

Going Low, Going High

The current campaign for the U.S. Presidency has certainly been full of sound bytes and I guess that some of them will become part of everyday English in their own good time. The one that has already taken me off track is Michelle Obama’s: When they go low, we go high.

The lovely lows in my world right now are these:

Sweet Autumn Leaves

And the happy highs have to be the heavenly skies:

Dawn Delight

There are times, too, when high and low merge with delicious ease bringing thoughts of both John Keats’ Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,’  and W.B. Yeats’ The trees are in their Autumn beauty …’ 


Yes, it’s a tough, rough Presidential campaign but thankfully, as Kris Kristofferson wrote:

But life goes on and this old world will keep on turning.



John Keats ~ Casting his Light on October 31

I never like leaving October behind because it has to be one of the most colourful months of the year with its spectacular autumn tints. To counter these thoughts of ‘endings,’ I decided to check out who was born on October 31.  To my  delight, I discovered that it is the birthday of  John Keats who was born on this day in 1795.

John Keats ~ Portrait by William Hilton

It just seems so appropriate that the man who wrote what is arguably the most famous poem about Autumn should have been born today. It just makes me smile to even think about it. Somehow, October 31 has been cast in a whole new light and I, for one, want to raise a glass to the life and work of John Keats.

So, let me bring you that poem which is so memorable:

Ode To Autumn 

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Woodstown Beach, Co. Waterford on National Poetry Day in Ireland, 2012

National Poetry Day, October 4th, dawned to perfection here in Co. Waterford. High tide was at 8.30am and Woodstown Beach sent out its whispering call. I arrived there shortly after 9.00 with my swimming gear and was greeted by the the most welcoming sea imaginable.

Tropical blue with sweet little waves embroidering the shell-strewn sand. While I had been thinking of John Masefield’s Sea Fever, on my way there, the moment I ran onto the beach John Keats’ On the Sea immediately took over:

On the Sea


John Keats

It keeps eternal whisperings around
Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell
Gluts twice ten thousand Caverns, till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.
Often ’tis in such gentle temper found,
That scarcely will the very smallest shell
Be moved for days from where it sometime fell.
When last the winds of Heaven were unbound.
Oh, ye! who have your eyeballs vexed and tired,
Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea;
Oh ye! whose ears are dinned with uproar rude,
Or fed too much with cloying melody—
Sit ye near some old Cavern’s Mouth and brood,
Until ye start, as if the sea nymphs quired!

As I floated in the sea, it was as if I could see poetry being written by nature. The moon had decided to stay up for the occasion and was gleaming across the water at the rising sun.

A woman, who was walking her dogs, called out to me, with a smile: You’re crazy.

As I smiled back, saying,  Oh, it’s bliss, lines from Brendan Kennelly’s poem Hope came flashing into my happy and connected mind:

Our skies are brightening up today.
I love your company, dear friend,
and always will, come what may.

I dream of being the living song
everyone would love to sing.
Impossible? No. That’s me. Let’s keep walking

until both our hearts are singing.

Poetry ~ A Profound Social Bridge

Poetry played a fundamental part in my treasured relationship with my late mother. However, it is only in recent months, as a result of posing a simple question on Linkedin, that I have come to realise the power of poetry in connecting people from all around the world. I write about this in Section Ten of Social Bridges.