Poetry Friday: Omagh Freezes

by Aine MacAodha, from her collection Landscape of Self (Belfast: Lapwing, 2015)

It was early November
I remember because of
How cold it was
A mini ice age it was said.
15 below zero; small towns
In the north stood still
Phone lines came down
From the weight of frost and snow
Burst pipes in the hundreds
And the drains unable to cope
Backed up.
I slid on the ice; tore ligaments
In my arm when I was helped up.
I feel the aches again as winter
Loiters like a threat.
Bones shudder under skin
A warning of another ice age to come.
It was the talk of the town all winter season
From the post office in market street
To the butchers in campsite
It was something different to talk about I suppose.

Aine MacAodha is from Omagh in County Tyrone.

Poetry Wednesday: Another From Tom MacIntyre

from the poem Return Visit (in the collection I Bailed Out at Ardee, which I discovered in a bookshelf in my unit at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig)

There’s a sign,
you that’s one for signs,

you’ve climbed the mountain,
gone into the wood
to touch the stones —

the stones can’t be found.

Scan the view.
Weigh the lean
mid-winter air.

That sapper’s mark
has its eye on me.

I stand there years,

then know-nothing,

Novel-In-Progress: FARM, MOUNTAIN, SEA, Ch. 1

Self’s novel is set on the island of Negros, in the central Philippines, at the start of the Japanese Occupation during World War II. Honorato, an hacendero‘s son, and Moses, the enkargado, are ordered to the mountains by Honorato’s father.

Self is bringing it, people. Just bringing it. Right now, her manuscript stands at 247 pages.

The next day the forest rears up before them, indescribably dense. It takes them a mere hour to reach the first line of trees. Upon entering, they find themselves under a thick canopy of foliage, the light fading to a cathedral dimness. Birds and an occasional monkey frolic overhead.

Moses leads the way, hacking the heavy vines and tree branches that block their path. Soon, his back is soaked with sweat. Honorato watches silently as the enkargado removes his shirt. The older man’s back is ribbed and corded and hard-looking, with small scars pocking the surface, from what past injury Honorato can only guess.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Tuesday: Tom MacIntyre

DSCN0087

After hours and hours of straight writing, self takes a break by perusing her cottage’s bookshelves for poetry collections.

She finds a collection called I Bailed Out at Ardee (Dedalus), by Tom MacIntyre.

Excerpt from Father

My shoulder knows his coffin
best of all, I was
the one who wasn’t there.

Tom MacIntyre was born in Cavan.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Another Novel-in-Progress, Found

This one takes place in the Philippines during World War II.

The working title is Farm and Mountain:

Four days later, the enkargado took Honorato to the mountains.

It was almost too late. From across the narrow strait separating them from the neighboring island of Panay, smoke had been rising, for days. The Zeros had made straight for the fuel depots in Iloilo.

243 pp.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Story of Trees

First Tree: Great Beech, Fagus Sylvatica, Non native, Seeded around 1860

Writer: Olive Broderick

  • There is no going back. She is so deeply rooted here it’s hard to tell her from Oak and Ash in this delayed-spring grove.

The Trees of Kilbroney Park is a publication of Light 2000. A copy was mailed to self in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig by her friend, poet Csilla Toldy, who edited the book.

Stay tuned.

 

Stonehenge/Pacifica

In 2014, self went to see Stonehenge.

She signed up for a small-group tour, the only one allowed on the site towards sunset. All the big tour buses had left. The guide, a retired military officer, led the group across a sheep meadow.

This is unquestionably the best approach. It allows the view to unfold gradually. You are reminded that this was how people, in time immemorial, must have approached the monument: in procession. Self could hardly contain her excitement at her first glimpse of the pillars of stone.

The mystery of the site has stayed with her. The fact that no human habitations were ever built around it. What was it used for?

DSCN4964

From this vantage point, we could clearly see the jagged outline of the stones, just above the rise.

Well before she saw Stonehenge, she’d written about it in a piece called Stonehenge/Pacifica, published in Wigleaf, 2012.

It was a dream I had, some restless night. One of those weeks or months or years when we were worried about money.

But when were we ever not worried?

First there was the mortgage, and then the two.

And then your mother got sick, and your father died.

And my mother I think developed Alzheimer’s, but we never mentioned it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Dystopia In Progress

Self is going to try, while she’s at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, pulling all her science fiction together into one collection.

What to call it?

She’s toying with the idea of making this the first story:

THE FREEZE (published in Bluestem)

Redwood, Oak, Laurel, Manzanita, Pine
Redwood, Oak, Laurel, Manzanita, Pine
Redwood, Oak, Laurel, Manzanita, Pine

Thanksgiving was just a week ago. I served brined turkey with oatmeal rolls and my special fig-and-rice stuffing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Trees, Fall, Annaghmakerrig

DSCN0070

10 October 2018

Today’s Nordic Translation Duel at the Winchester Poetry Festival

  • Self heard the word kennings for the first time ever. She learned that a kenning is a stylistic device used in old Norse sagas. It’s a way of referring to something by describing something else.

For example: A ship is also known as “the horse of the sea.”

Examples of modern kennings: clotheshorse, skyscraper

  • There is a repetitiveness in Nordic epic poetry: The sentence “I killed _______” is used over and over and over again.
  • Old Norse has many different words for “blood.” (Fascinating. Ancient Filipinos had many different words for “rice.”)
  • The Gisla Saga was written in the 13th century, but refers to events in the 10th. The featured presenters, Debbie Potts and Carolyne Larrington, presented their own translations of the same verses from the Gisla Saga (and the translations couldn’t have been more distinctive)

For example, a passage where “Gisli compares his sister to a legendary figure and finds his sibling wanting”:

Debbie Potts’ translation:

Fixated on fashion, my sister
lacks the gumption of Gudrun.

Carolyne Larrington’s translation of the same passage:

My sister, obsessed with her
superb wedding head-dress,
hasn’t Gudrun Gjukadottir’s
unrelenting temperament;

The duel was moderated by John McGavin, Joan McGavin’s husband.

Fascinating. Simply fascinating.

DSCN0046

Stay tuned.

 

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