Put me by
When I’m old.
A lake, a sea, a stream—
any wet thing.
So long as I can watch
Light-play on the surface,
The membrane dappled by wind,
Hear the glug and gurgle of water pockets
slapping the hulls of moored boats,
And smell the tang of moisture in the air,
I will be happy.
To say that dream haunts me Would be an overstatement.
But it lives in a safe, quiet spot in my mind— A dream of drowning.
The preambles have receded with time, But the moment of letting go, Of relinquishing my hold, of opening my fists And allowing seawater To flow through my fingers, Of sinking softly Was sweet.
The ultimate letting go.
For the first time this year I dragged out the old blanket and spread it on the grass. Dozed with my head on my arm, the sun warm enough to make me shed a layer. Oh boy my soul needed that sweet touch. And I dozed to the buzzing of bees in the gold and purple crocuses.
At dusk I stood on the lawn and felt air move against my skin. Not the numbing cold that freezes tears in your eyes. But an air scented with earth.
My son pointed out the sliver of waxing moon hanging between silhouetted tree branches, delicate as lace mantillas.
The moon siren, and the faint pulse coursing through the soil seduced the tree frogs out of hiding to call in lusty peeps from the unfrozen pond.
And now, against the darkness of a spring night A moth drives it’s wings against my window Oh so eager to step inside and make mad passionate love to my lamp.
Built to be a working girl,
Stout wooden timbers,
Eighty-four tonnes, seventy-nine feet long,
A coastal schooner
Plying her trade from Slyne Head to Mizen Head,
The English Channel and the Irish Sea.
And yet her name, the Sunbeam,
Forecast a more glamorous life—
A starlet in the making.
Her course was set for good
On a run from Kinvarra to Cork,
Her hold weighed down with flour,
Connemara rocks, perhaps, for ballast.
A winter storm sent her running for shelter,
Driving her ashore on Rossbeigh beach,
That sandy spit reaching across Dingle Bay.
No loss of life.
And so began her second career.
For more than a century
Flocks of beach-walkers and holidaymakers
Came to admire her oval hull
Sinking into the sand,
Gradually reduced to a skeleton,
Plucked clean by waves
And scuttling sea creatures.
With a backdrop of scudding clouds
Or an incoming tide,
She posed for countless photographs,
Like an old-time movie star
Whose great legs and high cheekbones never fail to catch the light, just so.
It was a sedentary life
For one designed to be in constant motion,
Riding high on Atlantic swells.
That is until the violent tidal surge
Of another New Year storm
Lifted her clean out of the sand
And carried her up the beach to rest against the dunes.
The frail, elderly star
Shook the dust off her silk robe,
And revealed what the ravages of time
Could not diminish:
A raw-boned beauty,
Not ashamed of her working-class origins,
Catching the sunlight for her close-up
One last time.
The Sunbeam, built in 1860 in Exmouth, England, was shipwrecked on January 3rd, 1903. For more than a hundred years, she has been drawing visitors to Rossbeigh beach, just outside the town of Glenbeigh in Co. Kerry. I had photographed her on several occasions while visiting my sister who lives nearby.
This January, when I arrived in Kerry, a violent winter storm had swept the West and Southwest coast of Ireland, just a few days before. Huge boulders were strewn across the road leading down to the beach, and the playground and public bathrooms were awash with purple and grey rocks. When the high tide receded, the locals were amazed to see that the Sunbeam had been lifted clean out of the sand, and moved up the beach about 400 yards.
Such was her reputation, that it didn’t take long before the sightseers and camera crews arrived on the scene to start taking her picture all over again.
Thanks to Mick O’Rourke for his informative site: http://www.irishshipwrecks.com/
Hippocampus, muskrat love’s got nothing on you.
The female seahorse deposits her eggs in her mate’s brood pouch,
And off she goes.
He bobs around through calm, shallow waters,
His seahorse belly swelling,
Making sure those eggs are safe and sound.
Once a day, the female comes courting.
She necks affectionately with her mate,
Coiling her tail seductively around his,
Just to let him know who’s boss.
And when those miniature seahorses emerge from the daddy pouch,
The females’ back to knock him up again.
If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.
Six grey ponies tearing at frost-rimed grass on the drive in.
Nephin sporting a capÍn of snow.
Swans, paired, trawling the lake’s inlets.
At the doctor’s office Martina still has her coat and scarf on
Furiously fielding phone calls and mumbled inquiries
From the queue shuffling through the dismal hallway.
In the waiting room two old fellas gab away, biding their time,
In it for the long haul.
And then two more.
Their Mayo dialect—laced with curses—
Rolls around their mouths as if they’re sucking boiled sweets.
It seems, to my untuned ear, to be a diatribe
Of every family in the county,
Or maybe just a friendly reminiscing.
Soon, all the chairs are taken
And still the patients stream in:
Bloodless, Vitamin D starved faces, rattling coughs, mini-germ factories,
Dreaming of Lanzarote.
Blogging is not for sissies. It takes time, focus, and hard work if you want to put out blogs that won’t make you cringe down the road. But the rewards are big. As the Write Eejit comes to the end of its first year, I thought it a good time to look back at what it’s taught me so far.
- Nobody just pops out a post worth its salt. Even the folks that seem to effortlessly come up with witty and informative things to say on a daily basis have more than likely been mulling them over for a while. WHITE DEER
- It’s an excellent way to get a load off my chest. Feeling aggravated or ecstatic about something? Why not post a mini rant. So what if I’ll forever be known as that miserable woman who hates her cat. I HATE MY CAT
- Blogging has a way of bringing things into focus. Coming up with topics not only allows me to live in the moment, but also reflect on past events in a new light. GOLDEN MOMENTS
- I get to experiment without having to commit to a specific idea or format. PAGAN MOON
- I’ve rediscovered things about my past that had dropped off my radar. HIPPIE ADVENTURE
- On good days when I post without a hitch, blogging makes me feel like 21st century Warrior Woman. On bad days when I can’t figure out why my password has reset itself, I’m an FTD (frustrated tech dummy). OLD WRITERS NEW MEDIA
- Blogging forces me to set goals and shoot for a deadline, and is a constant reminder to adhere to good writing habits—check spelling and punctuation before hitting “Post”. COTTER PIN
- Blogging helps me take that breath and reevaluate where I am, both in life, and as a writer. MUD SEASON
- There are many talented and inspiring fellow bloggers out there. HIGH JINKS IN THE HAREM
- And when those “Likes” and comments pop up, boy is it instant gratification for someone who spends a lot of time tapping away in no-woman’s land. BLIND SQUIRREL PARENTING
If there’s a surface in my house
That doesn’t have a heap of things piled on it
I can’t find it.
Most of the time I can turn a blind eye—
90% of the time, I don’t give a crap.
But that other 10% is a doozy.
Suddenly all my lack of caring
Is condensed into one hard hairball of bothering.
I’m so bothered, in fact, by the chaos
That I dig out clippings from the local classifieds
Of people eager to dispatch my mess.
I’m on the verge of picking up the phone
When something stops me.
I read somewhere that creative types
Need chaos to thrive.
Well that’s my excuse.
My other argument goes something like this:
When I let go of my perception of chaos
I’m being very Zen,
And let’s face it, we all need to be more Zen.
The moon is a blank-faced clock
Its ripe orb the only thing
That pagan man in pre-historic times
Could hang his hat on.
The deep chill of winter began the slow
Rumble of the seasons
The waxing and waning
Of the moon
Etching itself into the everyday.
The tug that set the hens to laying
And the shrimp to drift in on a high spring tide.
The high, sharp-edged disk
That lit up the eyes of a fox on the prowl,
Pups nipping at her heels, pouncing on frogs.
The May moon, anticipated by farmer and poet alike—
The moon to wipe the slate clean,
To slap the palm, sealing the deal of a new year’s agreement.
The warm, lazy moon that enticed lovers into the woods,
And small children into achingly cold mountain streams to catch minnows.
The harvest moon
Slipping silently up through half-naked tree branches
Sealing the coffers for another year.
This is the moon to be beguiled by sweet music, honey wine, and blood.
The powerful moon that holds the thread of life.
If she is not fawned over and appeased
She will slowly, with one eye on the clouds,
Unravel the thread.
I wrote this thinking of the early inhabitants of the island of Ireland, but the moon has resonance for every culture. I would love to hear about yours.
I have a confession:
I hate my cat.
Am I ashamed?
But I make no bones about it
I have to wipe her ass
I didn’t ask her to stay
She snuck into the basement and gave birth–
How could I say no to five kittens and two eager kid faces?
Didn’t think she’d stick around
After they were weaned.
I had her spayed.
She got fat,
Didn’t want to live in the basement any more.
Winter was coming,
How could I refuse?
And she’s been lying around ever since.
I could buy myself a fur coat with all the money I’ve spent on vet bills,
And then she has the nerve
To up and leave.
Just when I think she’s dead and gone
And I’m on the brink of tossing the kitty litter for good,
Dredging up a few fond memories to send her on her way,
She shows up again.
My husband says she’s found herself a fancy man
I say, it’s someone with a readier can opener than mine.
And yet, what can I say,
The animal’s tenacious,
A born survivor,
Still alive and kicking at 17
You’ve got to admire that
In a cat.