Seamus Heaney’s Nobel Prize ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 264

It was on this day in 1995 that Seamus Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Railway Lines Photo: Frank Tubridy
Railway Lines
Photo: Frank Tubridy

One poem from the great master has been dominating my thoughts today, as I recall the enormous sense of occasion and history that I felt  on October 5th, 1995.

I remember well cradling our four-month-old baby  and marvelling at Seamus Heaney’s ability to capture the innocence of childhood which seemed to be both behind and in front of me.

 The Railway Children

When we climbed the slopes of the cutting
We were eye-level with the white cups
Of the telegraph poles and the sizzling wires.

Like lovely freehand they curved for miles
East and miles west beyond us, sagging
Under their burden of swallows.

We were small and thought we knew nothing
Worth knowing. We thought words travelled the wires
In the shiny pouches of raindrops,

Each one seeded full with the light
Of the sky, the gleam of the lines, and ourselves
So infinitesimally scaled

We could stream through the eye of a needle.

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)

What Makes a Good Mother? ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 224

There’s all sorts of jokes about the typical ‘Irish Mammy’ but my question today extends far beyond that: what are the ingredients of a good mother? 

I had a mother for over 50 years: I’ve been a mother for over 18 years and I’ve been observing mothers for more years than I want to think about.

I’ve known people who hated their mothers, loved their mothers, hated motherhood, loved motherhood …… and I’ve spent hours today looking at quotes about mother and motherhood and there’s only one that appealed to me:

“She taught me what’s important, and what isn’t. And I’ve never forgotten. And that’s what mothers do, I say.”  Steven Herrick

There’s so many theories about motherhood that your brain would be bamboozled.

After a day (or is it a lifetime)  of reflection: here’s my list of some of the ingredients of a ‘good mother.’  I’d love if you could add (or subtract from this list):

1. Generous with her time

2. Warm

2. Patient

3. Encouraging

4. Communicative

5. Smiling

6. Willing to make Gingerbread Men

7. Poetic

8. Sporty

9. Eccentric

10. Young at heart

11. Empathetic

12. Funny

13. A good cook and a great cookery teacher

14. Honest

15. Adventourous

16. Calculatedly neglectful

17. Colourful

18. Passionate

19. Private

20. Open

Now, please tell me what you think. I really want to know.