She bid me take life easy …

Among the many pleasures of driving to Kilfarrasy Beach, which is about 5 miles from Tramore, is a field which is the grazing place of some beautiful horses. When others are down at the beach at sunset, I often find myself stopping to watch the horses in silhouette.

Yesterday, I simply had to stop when I saw this magnificent creature looking so peaceful:

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Peace

So many thoughts came flooding into my mind as I stood at the gate and watched him but none more than a saying that my late mother used to quote when she thought that any of us were over-doing things:

Remember the horses in the French Revolution. They had to work for ten days without a rest and they all dropped dead.”

She always highlighted the power of rest and saw it as being essential to being able to function to the best of one’s ability. Thus, she had no qualms about having a rest in bed every afternoon for an hour or so. She’d read her book, maybe have a little snooze and then get up ready to take on the world. She had a peace about her and wasn’t a person who rushed around. She was just as busy as anyone else but always looked like she had all the time in the world. I think she took a certain pleasure in slowing the pace down when people were racing around like as if they were on a frantic life-saving mission and being ‘busy bees, ‘ as she would call them.

As life moves on, I’m coming to see that she was right about the importance of rest and I think she’d be smiling to hear me, of all people, quoting this poem  that echoes from my childhood:

Down By the Salley Gardens

Down by the salley gardens
my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens
with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy,
as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish,
with her would not agree.

In a field by the river
my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder
she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy,
as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish,
and now am full of tears.

(William Butler Yeats)

 

 

 

 

Magic Things in Co. Waterford

I’m still keeping a close eye on the swans and their cygnets out around the River Anne and I simply had to check on them as evening was closing in today.

There were all sorts of surprises awaiting me:

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An Old Friend on Golden Waters
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Folded Note
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Fairy Correspondence
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Burnished Dunhill Castle
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Watchful Eye
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New Lovers

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper. 

(W.B. Yeats)

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:

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Sweet Autumn Leaves

And the happy highs have to be the heavenly skies:

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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 …’ 

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Mellowness

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.

 

 

Intensity

I’m listening to  John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men on audiobook at the moment and feel completely intimidated in my writing. I have been knocked sideways by his ability to create a sense of sound through great choice of words. The other writer (also a Nobel Prize Winner) who I see as having that extraordinary talent is Irish poet Seamus Heaney.

Part of my birthday expedition yesterday brought me to Hook Head Light House in Co. Wexford ~ which I’ve written about here many times before. It’s one of those places that I love both up close and from afar. On dark nights in Tramore, we can see the light of the Hook, like an old friend, smiling in the distance. And to be beside this 800 year old lighthouse is just something special.

It was coming towards sunset when I got there yesterday and I just stood in awe, like I always do, gazing at its solidity out there in the wilds of the Hook Penninsula.

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Hook Head Lighthouse, Co. Wexford. 

Just beneath the lighthouse, facing out to sea were two very ordinary, well-worn kitchen chairs. The sight of them, clearly with a history, but now empty, completely knocked the wind out of my sails.

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Together

I was glad that the chairs had each other and they looked so comfortable in their ‘companionable silence,’ to steal from W.B. Yeats.

Their emptiness was piercing, at one level, as they reminded me of Mother and Father’s empty chairs in their kitchen after they had died ~ first one and then the other. Their chairs faced each other, though, at either end of the kitchen table, not like this pair.

The little glint as the setting sun caught the chair on the left gave these a sense of warmth, a sense of hope, a deep sense of ongoing love. I felt that if I waited I would see the lovers return to watch the sun set fully and the bright beacon of Hook Lighthouse take over but time called me too ~ called me to go back home to our kitchen chairs that we’ve had for twenty-five years now.

Long Evenings in Co. Waterford

There’s something about stolen long evenings in Co. Waterford that wraps me up in sweet tranquillity.

Last Saturday, I felt the need to feast my eyes after too much screenery and found myself chasing the last of the light out along the Copper Coast. It was a dullish evening but I knew that there would be beauty if I let it find me.

Bonmahon Beach was deserted save for one young man making his way into the sea for one last swim:

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Depths

The Yeatsian sky ~ ‘Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths…’ mirrored on the sand like a painting laid out to dry:

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‘Enrought with golden and silver light …’

Bonmahon, like so many other cities, towns and villages across Europe, was engrossed in the EURO 2016 quarter final game between Italy and Germany and I met just one walker when I stopped to savour the setting sun. We said our ‘hellos’ and and agreed that it was a great evening to be out:

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Homeward Bound

The bleating of sheep rang through the salt air and I thought of those days in Spring when I was out searching for the first lambs of the year:

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Togetherness

It was very heaven to see the curtains of the day closing over the Comeragh Mountains:

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Closure

Back home the screen was flickering and tensions were high as the penalty shoot-out saw the Italian dream fade and German joy rise.

No one noticed that I’d not been there for the whole match and that’s how I wanted it to be!

 

Irish Intoxication

Drink to me only with thine eyes …  (Ben Jonson)

What was a quick walk at sundown yesterday after a long day at the computer turned into a feast of soothing light out by Carrigavantry Lake, which is just a couple of miles from Tramore.

It brought thoughts of lines from  W.B. Yeats’  wonderful Lake Isle of Innisfree:

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

Carrigavantry is a place that holds all sorts of memories for son, Harry, and me and we often go there when we crave tranquillity. Yesterday, though, was different as it was an ordinary day for both of us ~ that is, if any day can ever be called ‘ordinary.’

We didn’t go there for any emotional reasons or with any inner longings but it was like as if Carrigavantry hadn’t been told that and was determined to envelope us in magical light.

Welcoming Eyes
Welcoming Eyes

The green of Spring seemed tinged with Autumnal gold as we caught our first view of the nestling blue lake:

The First Glimpse
The First Glimpse

The rusty old bath that serves as a water trough fitted in perfectly with the golden hues. There was a softness in the air that made the ordinary exude extraordinariness:

Golden Gate
Golden Gate

The lake itself was high and the dying sun melted into the trees that frame it:

Carrigavantry Lake
Carrigavantry Lake

As we left for home, a well-coated grey horse gazed a pensive farewell:

Goodbye Eyes
Goodbye Eyes

Legacies

I guess everyone leaves a legacy of some description, at least, I’d like to think that they have the opportunity and that they have people who remember them long after they have passed on.

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The Flow of Words

One man who left a wonderful legacy to the world was Irish Nobel Laureate, William Butler Yeats, who died on January 28th, 1939.

His poetry lives with me every single day as it is etched in my heart and mind.

So many poems to choose from but this one never fails to calm me:

THE LAKE ISLE OF INNISFREE

I WILL arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

(William Butler Yeats 1865-1939)

What would you like YOUR legacy to be? 

 

 

Co. Waterford Awaiting Spring

Co. Waterford was beautifully dressed this morning and I couldn’t but think of these lines from W.B. Yeats:

Earth in beauty dressed

Awaits returning spring.

Here’s a little glimpse of how it was:

‘For Peace Comes Dropping Slow’

Christmas Eve always makes me think of the Christmas Truce in World War 1 in 1914. Every year, it seems more and more striking that soldiers from the opposing sides on the Western Front took the courageous step of laying down their arms for three days and came together to sing, talk,  eat, drink and play.

The Christmas Truce makes me think about the futility of war and, indeed, the yearning that lies within us for peace.

My hope for the every single human being today is that they somehow find peace in their lives and that peace can ring out right across the world.

This is the place of peace that comes to me this evening. It’s high up in the Comeragh Mountains here in Co. Waterford and my father and I used to climb up there for years around Christmas time.

The Comeragh Mountains, Co. Waterford Photo: Frank Tubridy
The Comeragh Mountains, Co. Waterford
Photo: Frank Tubridy

 ‘…for peace comes dropping slow’ (W.B. Yeats)

 

 

 

Coasting in Co. Waterford

I got to spend most of today out along the coast and it was bliss. There was a definite touch of Winter setting in but there was great colour, clarity and a sense of Co. Waterford being at one with itself.

The Copper Coast
The Copper Coast

Copper turned to blue, blue as I stood on the Bonmahon Beach, looking back towards the old mining works up on the cliffs at Tankardstown.

Bonmahon Beach, Co. Waterford
Bonmahon Beach, Co. Waterford

And I couldn’t resist plunging into the waves at Garrarus Beach just before sunset. The sea is holding her heat well and the waves were all playful and fluffy:

Bouyancy
Buoyancy

As the sun set, I was catapulted away by W.B. Yeats:

Embroidered Cloths
Embroidered Cloths

 

Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

(W.B. Yeats)