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26th January 2014

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The world is ice

'My Story'

Here’s my story; the stag cries,
Winter snarls as summer dies.

The wind bullies the low sun
In poor light; the seas moan.

Shapeless bracken is turning red,
The wildgoose raises its desperate head.

Birds’ wings freeze where fields are hoary.
The world is ice. That’s my story.

Anonymous Irish poet, 7–13th century. Translated by Brendan Kennelly.

Tagged: poetryIrelandIrish poetryancient poetrywinterweathercoldnature poetryBrendan Kennelly

7th December 2013

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Dublin walk

It seemed at one point that the sun might break through — there was a concentration of lemony light in the southern sky, then a sun shaft beamed down, an escape hatch to a better world — I stopped to watch, pinning my hopes on it, placing bets with the Devil. But the clouds steamrolled in and suppressed it, a crushed rebellion. The sunrays were hauled off and shot. The street became flat and oppressive once more as the sky darkened to silver, steel, and finally iron. I started on my rounds again.

Claire Kilroy, All Names Have Been Changed (2009)

Tagged: booksIrelandDublinwalkingweatherskyClaire Kilroy

4th May 2012

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Elizabeth Rendall, The Wind

'The Wind'

Why does the wind so want to be
Here in my little room with me?
He’s all the world to blow about,
But just because I keep him out
He cannot be a moment still,
But frets upon my window sill,
And sometimes brings a noisy rain
To help him batter at the pane.

Upon my door he comes to knock.
He rattles, rattles at the lock
And lifts the latch and stirs the key –
Then waits a moment breathlessly,
And soon, more fiercely than before.
He shakes my little trembling door,
And though “Come in, come in!” I say,
He neither comes nor goes away.

Barefoot across the chilly floor
I run and open wide the door;
He rushes in and back again
He goes to batter door and pane,
Pleased to have blown my candle out.
He’s all the world to blow about,
Why does he want so much to be
Here in my little room with me?

Elizabeth Rendall

Tagged: poetrywindweatherElizabeth Rendall

11th January 2012

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Storm in the west of Ireland

My mental pictures of wild Connacht weather would furnish a municipal gallery, each of them hugely framed in gilt and called something like ‘Tempest in Mayo’. The story the other night would have suited Turner to a T: in the fierce headlights of a friend’s minibus, it swarmed about us in flourishes of silver, in washes of ochre and umber. Only a minibus, driven with knowledge of every twist and turn of the road in all conceivable conditions (in other words, the school bus) could have brought us home at all. The road seethed with water. It poured from every gap in the ditch, spilled from every hill stream, hummocked out of boreens. Below our own gable, The Hollow echoed to the crash and grind of boulders, the hollow thock! so like the collisions of rams. A quick swing of the flashlamp in the run from the gate to the front door lit a dizzying rush of water just inches below the new footbridge.

Michael Viney, A Year’s Turning

Tagged: IrelandMayoMichael Vineynatureweatherstormbooks