What Page Are You On?

It’s 4pm on Sunday afternoon, August 16th,  here in Ireland and I’ve just been reclining after a lovely walk around Tramore Beach.

I always have a pile of books to hand and my choice today for a relaxing read was this particular favourite:


While reading is a solitary activity, my mind often wanders to what books other people are reading as I’m reading mine. So this is the question I put to you, dear friends.

How fortunate we are to be able to read ~ in terms of both being literate and having the necessary eyesight!

The particular page I’ve been reading is 325 and this  gem:

Love after Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

(Derek Walcott)

Blank Pages ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 77

Last Sunday morning, as I was walking along the cliffs at Ballycotton, Co. Cork, I came to a complete standstill when I saw a set of stones that looked liked the torn out pages of a copybook, some lined, others blank and yet more with bits of artwork.

The lined stones brought me back to nib pens, ink and Father looking over my shoulder as I tried to copy beautifully formed letters with my eight-year-old hand. Line after line of capital Js, small js , capital Fs and small fs, capital Ms and small ms ….. blotting paper soaking up the worst of the mess and Father’s hand eventually guiding mine as we produced the ‘perfect’ letters together and then I managed them, albeit a bit wobbly, on my own. Looking at the unlined stones,  I couldn’t but think of  the blank pages that have faced  every single great writer, poet and artist.

How fortunate we are that they could write; how fortunate I am that I had my father taking an interest in cultivating my ability to form letters and my mother feeding me with a passionate love of  books and reading.

As I gazed at the stones, I just thought how a blank page and the ability to write are such precious gifts.  In my wild imaginings I could see Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats, Yeats, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Maeve Binchy ….. stopping at those stones and leaning down to write masterpieces. I also saw Father’s calligraphy and Mother’s ‘Love from Us Both‘ and promised myself that I would never again see a blank page as anything but glorious pathway.