Archive for January, 2013

“An Emigrant’s Letter”

Posted: January 24, 2013 in Prose
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I found this letter the other day, a letter of an emigrant of Australia, writing to a great Aunt, a fellow writer, and appreciator of prose, I thought I would share it with you..


Dear Auntie,

I am writing this letter at 3 am on the date as shown as above. Why? Because I have been sitting at my computer and was looking through some of my writings and found the letter that I had sent you in August of this year 2010.


In reading it, again, I am struck by the passion and poetry of my words, It is a beautiful letter, and it is in response to the hospitality of your heart that these words became borne, as we are generations apart, and many miles as well, it appears that humanity expressed in its truest form, can still inspire,


I thank you for that, and hope that this scribe finds in you rude health, as much as my last efforts of communication.


I have been remiss in not replying sooner, and to be honest have been embarrassed by your frequency of communiqué’s. This is pure laziness and  tantamount to disrespect on my behalf, nothing less and no excuse sought. My gratitude however ,is deeply felt.

I received your last package and your Christmas card. I have flitted though your writings, and to be honest have not taken enough time yet to dedicate my mind to them, for this I apologise. My intention in the new year is to focus upon the things that are local in my heart and cease to be partitioned by the ‘bigger’ pictures in life. Looking after the ‘pennies’  now seems to bear more fruit, God bless the gift of wisdom.


There are many reasons why I write now, but perhaps the most prominent one is this:


I had the pleasure of the company of a most beautiful woman tonight, A lady that has shared my growth over this side of the world, she opened my heart some years ago, and there are far too many details to go into here just now.


Suffice to say, we were holding each in soft embrace, and she enquired as to my tears. I didn’t realise they were apparent, for they were not tears of sadness, and yet they were.


My response was as follows:

“I was just  looking at you, and had one of those moments when your breath can stop. You ask me why I cry? I ummed and aahhhed, and said,

I have just imagined sitting at an outdoor coffee shop table with an old friend that I haven’t seen for twenty years and trying to describe you.”


My eyes began to flow, and my look into hers never wavered,


I said to her, as I would to my long lost friend,


She is like the Tanami, vast, beautiful, encompassing and holds that rhythm that belongs to the River Katheryne, The escarpments, The Plateaus, The Kookaburra, The Hopper of Grass, The spinifex,  The bridge of London, and yet still unfallen, ,


In one moment in time she became part of that heartbeat that is belonging me,


The beauty of all that, is what flowed from me.


It was, for me, the fact that I saw it, recognized it, knew it, and savoured it, and still had the ability to live it, express it, and in turn sit here and write this down for you, to share, in deference and acknowledement to those of us, that can connect to the humanity of the individual with one heartbeat in harmony with the very land that gifts us life.


This is how beautiful she is.



Yet again Ireland finds itself arguing the toss over the issue of abortion.

There is no doubt it is an emotive issue, and for that reason alone, I have always tried to avoid any discussion around this issue over the internet, until now.

For as both sides continue to put forward their side of the discussion, we seem to lose track of the fact that as each day passes, and we moralise in debate…….Mary still boards the ferry……

So lets take a look at the current state of play in this never ending debate.

The tragic passing of Mrs Savita Hallapannavar has brought this issue into sharp focus, and one wonders if her very traumatic death had never occurred, would we be any closer to legislation…

The Irish government have been obliged to legislate for abortion in certain circumstances for over twenty years. The fact that successive governments have failed in this duty, regardless of its content or context, has been lamentable to say the least, and negligent and incompetent to be generous. Whatever we may think about the incumbent administration, at least they are taking up the mantle and attempting to address their duty to the constitution voted for by the people of the land.

“X case and the letter of the law”

“Government will legislate to allow abortion in line with X Case ruling” via The

In the meantime, Mary still boards the ferry…….

So what are the deeper arguments?  The Anti-abortionists, or Pro Life lobby, as they prefer to be known, claim that any abortion is abhorrent, often citing religious beliefs, the greater good, and that nobody in their right mind would consider such an act, the more extreme elements suggest it to be murder of the innocents, either way, they appear to be not for turning, under any circumstance. And in any democracy, they have that right.

The Pro Abortionists, or Pro Choice Lobby, as they prefer to be known, suggest that abortion is a right of a woman, to choose, to recognise her choice may not be yours or mine, but hers, and that any prevention of that choice could have a detrimental effect upon both mother and child in the long run, either way, they appear to be more open to the concept of the individual as a contributor to the greater good. And in any democracy they have that right.

In the meantime, Mary still boards the ferry……

This current debate has descended into Doctors speaking in the House of the Oireachtas stating such things as ‘I need to know if I will not be jailed, or that suicide is never a treatment for abortion, it has seen Clergymen and Athiests give their point of view, it has seen spurious arguments declaring the highest court of the land was wrong, it has seen emotive claims that this legislation will be the ‘slippery slope’ and ‘open the floodgates’ without providing a predicitve figure or estimate, it has been manipulated to avoid the substansive issue, that is, that under the European Courts of Human Rights the Irish Government must legislate…….

“….European Court of Human Rights ruling which deemed the absence of legislation in Ireland to be a breach of human rights.”

In the meantime, Mary still boards the ferry……

Let’s be clear, it is presumed, the majority of us would have to travel a long way to find someone who would see abortion as a first option, and therefore, by way of extension, can understand that any such decision has been arrived at with great trepidation and thought by the women who arrive at this choice.

Their reasons may be manifold, and they are their reasons, not yours, nor mine, simply theirs.

The question that raises is this……will either lobby group be there for the woman who cant have an abortion in Ireland when she is in her hour of brokeness…or is she left alone in her decision?

We dont have to like the legislation, we dont have to trumpet the legislation, all we have to do as a nation, is implement the legislation….

In the meantime, Mary still boards the ferry……..


“The ‘Blow In’ Sod”

Posted: January 5, 2013 in Comment
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Today, this Saturday,January 5th of 2013, I attended my second funeral in three days….

Thankfully, these funerals, were of elderly folk, people that had lived an age, reared a family, survived all changes that every decade presented them. I am certain, that I may never know the hardships that they endured, and often think, my hardships are just wee hiccups compared to theirs, alas, we perceive as we do…..

You see for me, the first funeral, was of a man I had never met, but of a man whose sons I have been fortunate enough to know well. There was never any reason for me to meet their Father, nor he me, that is the way rural life in Ireland is,when you are a ‘blow in’ , ye shall meet,when ye do…..

Yes, it is in the vales and rises of rural Ireland that I dwell, a small village, that used to boast a corner shop/post office, a church, and a two pubs, and proudly held a population of approximately 300 people.

Today, it has, no corner shop/post office, one pub, and of course the Chapel is still the most prominent structure in the village, although, perhaps, not the most frequented……and the population? Well, it has been gifted the wheels of emigration…..

Nonetheless, there I was today, attending, nay, singing, at a funeral mass of an eighty year old woman, from the village. A woman, that whenever I saw her over the sixteen years of being a ‘blown in’ , always had time for me. She was one of the first ladies that I met when I arrived to this corner of Ireland, and boy, she was simply, the Lady, of the Village.

The priest today, paid her a most beautiful tribute, when he said,    ‘She was in the church as often as the altar itself…’

And here she was, encased in a pine box, with her family near by, and a congregation that had only been seen in the same numbers two days before, and on Christmas Eve before that…

The funeral mass came and went, her sons carried her with pride, to her rest, and the many, gathered in the local hall, for tea and ‘sangwiches’….

It was only when I went out for air, that I saw one man, down by the grave, shovelling clay, back into the grave, a local chap, a mate, near the same age, that I realised, hang on……this is done by us…..

So I walked down, in my Sunday best, took off my coat, and picked up the spare shovel…….One became two, became three, became six…….in no time, ‘Kitty’ was laid to rest……

It was in this sharing, that I remarked to the other lads….”I think this knocks the ‘Blow in’ off me………”

Either way, It was a pleasure to lay clay upon a Lady