Eclectic WORDS ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 261

Co-Founder of WORDS, Roisin Hackett, performing at the Art Hand
Co-Founder of WORDS, Roisin Hackett, performing at the Art Hand

The October, and fourth, meeting of WORDS Writers’ Group took place last night and my mind was full of Autumn, John Keats and, for all sorts of reasons, T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,  as I drove towards the dynamic Art Hand of Sean and Miranda Corcoran on the Copper Coast here in Co. Waterford.

This was the first evening since the Group started in early July that it was dark on the outward journey but I still got out of the car to look  at the waves crashing against the cliffs on a road that is so intensely evocative.

The cosy room at the Art Hand was buzzing with the chatter of both familiar and unfamiliar faces. It’s fascinating how the Group is developing a core of regulars and also newcomers who may well become regulars. As ever, there was a comfortable mingling and, for me, a huge highlight was finally getting to meet a local blogger with whom I have been conversing online for about two years now!

The words of last evening brought us back to the wonder of children’s story books with those big colourful pages; off on an adventure to an island in the Pacific; into the world of traditional music played in front of open fires; swimming on a deserted beach along the Copper Coast;  down the historic cells at Duncannon Fort;  into the intricacies of making a silent film …..

It was a night on which the death of  never-to-be-forgotten old dogs wove its own little thread, along with the significance of hugs.  The hugs extended into the past as loved ones were honoured through words about them and the reading of words by them.

Plenty of laughs too, the character of the fig, spiders spidering, and an unexpectedly risque poem of a late grandfather and former policeman about ‘Women’s Fashions’, read by his grand daughter.  I will never see stockings, tights or the merging of the Barrow and the Nore in the same way again after last night!

Oddly,  it didn’t seem dark at all on the way home!

WORDS and Silence ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 237

Sunset on the Copper Coast, Co. Waterford
Sunset on the Copper Coast, Co. Waterford

The September  and third  ‘gathering’ of the WORDS Writers’ Group at the The Art Hand took place last night. The sun was setting as I drove along the Copper Coast towards that intimate space in The Art Hand which is becoming more and more familiar.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, could have prepared me for the minute’s silence which was held to mark the death of  Seamus Heaney.  Lights switched off and all our gazes gathered on a simple candle in the middle of the table. To experience such shared love and respect brought a well of tears to my eyes but a stronger feeling than ever that Seamus Heaney’s life and work will always be held precious.

Sunset 2

It felt last night that the ‘performing’ aspect of WORDS has changed from being a nerve-wrecking experience to a well-thought out and unselfconscious presentation of  words and genres that matter hugely to each individual.

That twenty-two people could bring such a diverse range of material, contexts and emotions was breath-taking.  Memoir of ballet classes in the 1980s, neighbours in the 1950s, poetry of love and rejection, a beautiful reading of Seamus Heaney’s ‘Harvest Bow,’ a folk tale from Co. Kilkenny, reflections on tall ships and emigration, a mouth-watering piece on our relationship to chocolate, spoken song lyrics that brought Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen to mind, a lighthearted monologue on ‘talking.’

I would just love to know what’s going through the minds, hearts and imaginations of my twenty-one ‘co-brethern of the quill’ this morning!