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.

Backstory, Diaspora: THE STONE SKY, Syl Anagist Two

The following passage was taken from a section that deals with: The Stillness. Thniess. Niess.

Damn if self knows what any of these words mean, but she’s only reading the final book of The Broken Earth trilogy, just to have a taste. Nice writing, tho. For sure.

  • The Sylanagistines took their land. The Niess fought, but then responded like any living thing under threat — with diaspora, sending whatever was left of themselves flying forth to take root and perhaps survive where it could. The descendants of these Niess became part of ever land, every people, blending in among the rest and adapting to local customs. They managed to keep hold of who they were, though, continuing to speak their own language even as they grew fluent in other tongues. They maintained some of their old ways, too — like splitting their tongues with salt acid, for reasons known only to them. And while they lost much of the distinctive look that came of isolation within their small land, many retained enough of it that to this day, icewhite eyes and ashblow hair carr a certain stigma.

Why couldn’t the whole book have been written about this?

Fascinating.

Stay tuned.

Power Dynamics: THE STONE SKY, Ch. 4

Trigger Warning: Torture

  • Kill only one, initially. Pick someone who tries to harm you — but only one, even if more than one tries. Disable the others, but take your time killing that one person. Make it painful. Make sure your target screams. That’s important. If the first one that you kill remains silent . . . kill another.

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.

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.

At Last, Emma Opens Her Eyes!

EMMA, Vol. III Chapter XI

  • Why was it so much worse that Harriet should be in love with Mr. Knightley, than with Frank Churchill? Why was the evil so dreadfully increased by Harriet’s having some hope of a return? It darted through her, with the speed of an arrow, that Mr. Knightley must marry no one but herself!

Breaking News: Highbury

EMMA, Vol. III Chapter X

Mr. Weston shows up one day to fetch Emma, telling her only that she is needed at Randalls, something has happened.

Emma goes with Mr. Weston at once, and pleads with him to tell her what has happened.

“Do not be impatient, Emma; it will all come out too soon.”

“Good God! Mr. Weston, tell me at once. Something has happened in Brunswick Square. I know it has . . . Mr. Weston, do not trifle with me.”

Brunswick Square is the London address of the Knightleys. Emma’s sister and brother-in-law and their children are there. More importantly, Mr. Knightley (George) has just left for Brunswick Square, alone, on horseback (How very dashing! How self wishes she, too, could leap on a horse and say, at a moment’s notice: Headed to London! Ta!)

Mr. Weston hastens to reassure Emma: “Upon my honour . . . It is not in the smallest degree connected with any human being of the name of Knightley.”

Indeed? The plot thickens!

Stay tuned.

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