Crosswords

Just typing in the heading has me leaning in two directions but I will stick with my first thought.

I love crosswords but have never been able to crack cryptic ones. Even when I see the solutions, I can’t even begin to understand how they were arrived at.

I have no doubt that some of you wordy people can whizz through a cryptic crossword like you were singing the alphabet.

What’s the thought process involved and how did you get the hang of it?

One of my many New Year’s hopes or ‘Revolutions’ is to master these.

On such Revolutions, I am also hoping to return to knitting which isn’t entirely different to crosswords, in my view. Just think crossstitch, unravelling and satisfaction.

Thing is I have forgotten how to – and I thought knitting was like riding a bike.

I’ve been scouring the internet for an idiot’s pattern for a colourful hat knitted on straight needles but nothing is idiotic enough. So any help welcome!

Stepping Out with Brendan Kennelly

The New Year simply hasn’t begun for me and lots of that is due to the fact that I’ve been waiting to take an acceptable photograph of birds to accompany the one poem that always gets a year going in my crazy mind.

I’ve gone out day after day and the birds are singing melodiously or soaring beautifully but it’s like they are playing hide and seek with me.

So here’s the poem and maybe someone would send me a 2015 photo of ‘summoning birds’ that I can add in to the post.

Begin

Begin again to the summoning birds

to the sight at the light at the window,

begin to the roar of morning traffic

all along Pembroke Road.

Every beginning is a promise

born in light and dying in dark

determination and exhaltation of springtime

flowering the way to work.

Begin to the pageant of queuing girls

the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal

bridges linking the past and future

old friends passing through with us still.

Begin to the loneliness that cannot end

since it perhaps is what makes us begin,

begin to wonder at unknown faces

at crying birds in the sudden rain

Begin to the pageant of queuing girls

the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal

bridges linking the past and future

old friends passing through with us still.

Begin to the loneliness that cannot end

since it perhaps is what makes us begin,

begin to wonder at unknown faces

at crying birds in the sudden rain

at branches stark in the willing sunlight

at seagulls foraging for bread

at couples sharing a sunny secret

alone together while making good.

Though we live in a world that dreams of ending

that always seems about to give in

something that will not acknowledge conclusion

insists that we forever begin. 

From: The Essential Brendan Kennelly: Selected Poems (2011) edited by Terence Brown and Michael Longley ( Bloodaxe Books)

P.S. The photograph that I like best from my numerous expeditions in search of ‘summoning birds’ since January 1st is this one. 

Hope