Monday, April 20, 2009

The Green, green grass of home

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.’


Mr Reality said...

Thanks for the word pictures Gerry, despite the bleak economic climate, they certainly lift the spirits.

Kate said...

quiet the springlike message...from the horizon, to the culinary treats.
Give the the dogs a friendly pat from me.
Loved this message, even with the absence of politics.
Ye'r a riot !!

Ta ar la anois


Sean McBrearty said...

Plenty of poetry in those words... we can't wait to have you visit San Francisco this June, Mr. Adams. Is there a way I could contact you about setting up a book interview while you're in town? My email-

Anonymous said...

An April Day (on Rathlin)

When the warm sun,that brings
Seed-time and harvest, has returned again,
It is sweet to visit the still wood, where springs
The first flower of the plain.

I love the season well,
When forest glades are teeming with bright forms,
Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell
The coming-on of storms.

From the earth's loosened mould
The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives;
Though stricken to the heart with winter's cold,
The drooping tree revives.

The softly-warbled song
Comes from the pleasant woods, and colored wings
Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves along
The forest openings.

When the bright sunset fills
The silver woods with light, the green slope throws
Its shadows in the hollows of the hills,
And wide the upland glows.

And when the eve is born,
In the blue lake the sky, o'er-reaching far,
Is hollowed out and the moon dips her horn,
And twinkles many a star.

Inverted in the tide
Stand the gray rocks, and trembling shadows throw,
And the fair trees look over, side by side,
And see themselves below.

Sweet April! many a thought
Is wedded unto them, as hearts are wed;
Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn brought,
Life's golden fruit is shed.

Thanks Gerry

Timothy Dougherty said...

"Politics is the enemy of the imagination" someone dare said.Nice to see Gerry that you are not weighted down by huge sods,but have expressed a greener dream,if only for a day,a week or a Easter.

"But he would not be held
At home by his own crowd
Whatever threats were phoned,
Whatever black flags waved."
By Seamus Heaney

wonderful post,

West-of--the-Bann said...

From yesterday's BBC review of the news 'What the papers say':

"The Irish News claims an exclusive for its report on a purpose-built 'supergrass' unit which it says will be constructed inside Maghaberry prison.

As the paper reminds readers, the supergrass system collapsed in 1985 over the reliability of evidence.

But in 2007, Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde decided to allow the reintroduction of the scheme where paramilitaries give state's evidence..."

Let me understand this correctly. The totally discredited Supergrass trials are coming back because of yet another secretive directive from Sir Orde similar to the secretive return of the SAS directive? And all in the name of presumbably saving democracy from itself?
What even became of the GFA?
Did I miss the wake and funeral?
Or is it the more things change, the more they become the same, and everything in between has been an elaborate ruse?
I anxiously await the next shoe to drop -- the disclosure of the shoot-to-kill directive from Sir Orde.
And Sinn Fein fully backs these new directives? And there is now no difference between SF and the Brits?

Anonymous said...

Hi Gerry,You've made my mouth water thinking of that full Irish breakfast and the longing to be back on the old sod. You never cease to amaze me, a cook a dog lover and now I hope you're enjoying all this while resting on holiday. We will see you in N.Y in June and then the wait for belfast will follow in July. Is mise le meas E.F.

Linda Coleman said...

Gerry, check out this website, Dog Fill out a brief survey and find out your dog's actual equivalency in "people years."

There's one for cats called Cat Age; my cat's 18; according to the folks at Cat Age, he's 86 in people years.

The 7-year-rule applies for the first few years, but slows down during middle years.

Best wishes to you and Osgur from me and my old-man-cat Nicky.

Kathy Collins said...

Hi Gerry,

What a grand day- April 19th the anniversary of the 1775 Battle of Lexington and Concord where the minutemen of Lexington attempted to keep the british army from marching the kings highway. Many were killed yet it was a glorious victory. Lexington gave the colonist of Concord time to bury the weapons for the Revolution and when the brits arrived in Concord...the minutemen began their strategy of taking out as many of the officers as possible. Not only that...but the colonist pushed the brits all the long way back to Boston and to the sea.
This is a rather round about way of saying I like your French Poodle. It was the French that helped the Colonist beat the british. So, for your dog...vive la France and for the Americans who beat the british...hooray!

Linda Coleman said...

Gerry, your paragraph about Clonakilty black pudding made me think of a new feature that we need for these blogs--just as soon as scientists figure out how to give us the matter transfer technology we've seen in "Star Trek."

In my blog feature--I'd call it "flogging" for "food blogging"--you would make your dish, upload it (gives new meaning to the word "server"), give us the link, we'd all download it at our desks in little sample cups and tell you how we liked it.

The very first time I had black pudding was at the Royal Dublin Hotel. I didn't think I was going to like it, but I did. Unfortunately, it's rare to find it in the U.S.

Until someone figures out that matter transfer thingy, the best way to get Clonakilty black pudding is through the website Clonakilty Foods Company:

Clonakilty Foods Company doesn't have teleportation--yet--just regular mail, which is good enough (for now).

Maire said...

Gerry, nobody is a sweeter or more poetic writer then a Celtic Man; a very uplifting and positive entry!
Your wee dogs are lovely, I've never seen my own husband so humbled in feeling as when we acquired our own dog..she is our ever faithful companion, whether here or in the mountains. May the beautiful Spring weather renew & uplift you and everyone, especially in challenging times such as these...
Be well,