19 Aibrean 2009
The Green, green grass of home
I am resisting the temptation to write about the Middle East two blogs in a row though I must confess my recent visit there is the filter through which I have viewed everything since my return. The stunningly sad vista there makes you appreciate what we have going for ourselves in this part of the world and especially on this little isle.
Ok, so we are in grip of the worst economic recession in Irish history and most of our greater difficulties are entirely self afflicted! But this too will pass. This blog does not minimise our economic difficulties. On the contrary I believe that these can be cured. Easier said than done I know. The necessary realignment of Irish society to accomplish this is a mighty task. But not impossible. On the contrary it is very do-able.
But I am resolved not to ponder on these matters this morning. I declare this space a politics free zone. For a wee while anyway. Everything is politics, you may respond in a dismissive retort. Retort till your lips grow dry and bitter. This blog is oblivious to your protestations. This blog refuses to be fatalistic or pessimistic.
Spring has sprung. The field before me is a verdant green, speckled with primroses. Beneath the sun dappled trees, blue bells raise their tiny wee heads heavenwards. The surviving daffodils nod brightly and cheerfully at me. In the birdhouse a pair of tits are rearing a brood of younkers. Above them a bright blue tent of sky stretches as far as the eye can see, unblemished by even one single dark cloud. A blackbird sings in a holly tree.
Osgur, our ancient and wise old dog, is stretched out beneath the wall in her own little sun trap. Osgur is 16 years old this year. That makes her 105 going on 112 years. If she was a human, that is. She now has a male companion. A cheeky little fellow, a white poodle which goes by the amazingly original name of Snowie. Not my dog. But he and I have bonded well. A dog by any other name is still a dog. Poodles, even snowie white ones, I have discovered, like bog trotting and long hilly treks or danders along deserted strands as much as any other mutt. Most of them like a good walk as much as, or even more maybe than, a good feed. A dog is a dog is a dog. For a’ that. Like a pint of plain, it’s your only man.
So is Clonakilty black pudding. I cooked some last night with good bacon and floury spuds and fresh plucked cabbage simmered to softness with just a braon bheag of water to moisten it. Scrumptious. With daps of butter to melt the potatoes. And black pepper to excite them. And a glass of merlot, donated by a saintly friend, to wash it all down. Sláinte.
And Seamus Heaney is 70. Nearly as old as our Osgur. And even wiser. And modest as well. We are blessed by his wordsmithery. RTE filled the airwaves this week with his poetry. A great steadier to the sombre newscasts.
Seamus Heaney from Tamlaghduff in County Derry. Oracle. National treasure. One time teacher, alongside Michael McLaverty in Saint Thomas’s School on the Whiterock Road in Belfast. Seamus Heaney, the world’s greatest living poet.
Living. That’s the important bit. Long may you prosper Seamus. To dedazzle and amaze us. To uplift and surprise us. To remind us. To challenge and comfort us. Long life to you and your clann.
Aye, it’s a great week to be back in Ireland. Easter is for optimists. There is a certainty and a renewal about it. The certainty of hope. So;
‘Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.’