The washerwoman of the Ballynagor Bridge was a woman who had died in childbirth but who was not all-the-way dead . . . By day, the washerwoman washed clothes in the Stracam River, under the Ballynagor Bridge. By night she roamed the watery places of the countryside, looking for the child that had once grown in her belly.
Most everyone who saw the washerwoman was feary’d to their bones by the look of her. Her grey skin was all water-wrinkled, her hands were rubbed red-raw and her toes were all webbit.— The Terrible Tale of Fillan McQuillan, in The Faerie Thorn and Other Stories
Tag: Irish writers
Self was reading Story # 3, The Merrow of Murlough Bay, when big fat tears started rolling down her cheeks!
This is crazy! She hasn’t cried about a fairy tale since The Little Mermaid!
Each of the stories in this book, at least the three she has read so far, follow the same pattern: Goodness is terrifying, therefore it is spurned. And Talbot is a genius at showing suffering. Maybe it’s the mermaid thing — self doesn’t know. All she knows is that the suffering of the merrow Bright Blue, his “all-on-my-ownness,” his fear, was so real. There was a little bit of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go in there, if you must know.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
Posting this for the Monday Window challenge.
A week of hard writing lies ahead. And a welcome reunion with Kelly Creighton, who’s written a new novel (Thank you, Kelly, for my advance copy of Souls Wax Fair, which I am enjoying enormously)
To my host at River Mill, Paul Maddern, much gratitude for the writing space and the 5-star cooking!
Will shortly to Belfast for bookstore exploring.
Excerpt, Found: I
— from letters sent by Paul Nash to his wife Margaret
21 March 1917, near La Clytte:
The willows are orange,
the poplars carmine with buds,
the streams gleam brightest blue
and flights of pigeons
go wheeling about the fields.
Messed up with all this normal
beauty of nature you see
the strange beauty of war.
- Paul Maddern was born in Bermuda and lives in Co. Down, Northern Ireland. He obtained his PhD at the Seamus Heaney Centre and has since taught at the universities of Leeds, Edinburgh and Queen’s Belfast. Found I is from the collection Pilgrimage (Templar Poetry, 1917)
An excerpt from The shame of our island
is that we killed the wolf.
Not just the last
but the two before that.
I knew a man who met a man
who was the cousin removed
of the great-grandson of the man
who killed the third-last wolf
on the island.
Slit it he did,
to see the steaming innards —
how long they were, how tightly wound.
Had it a white paw to the fore?
That gene would have been recessive.
The shame of our island is part of the collection Heat Signature (Seren Books, an imprint of Poetry Wales Press, 2017)
- About the author: Siobhan Campbell was born in Dublin. Her collections of poetry are Cross-Talk (Seren), The Permanent Wave and The Cold that Burns (Blackstaff Press) and chapbooks The water speaks in tongues (Templar) and Darwin Among the Machines (Rack Press).
This is self’s favorite story so far in The Big Book of Classic Fantasy. It’s Story # 27. Kudos, Oscar Wilde!
- “Indeed, I have always been of the opinion that hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing whatever to do.”
What a relief to encounter Oscar Wilde in this monster of an anthology (The Big Book of Classic Fantasy).
His “The Remarkable Rocket” is Story # 27, and I read a Tolstoy story, “Ivan the Fool,” before getting here, and that story is nothing compared to “The Remarkable Rocket.”
- The Prince and Princess were leading the dance. They danced so beautifully that the tall white lilies peeped in at the window and watched them, and the great red poppies nodded their heads and beat time.
We talked about ceviche, pancreatitis, and the beautiful, hyperviolent plays of British-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh.— p. 129, Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last, by Wright Thompson
I would love to live— from Conamara Blues, which Dear Departed Father Richard Haslam gave to me on my first visit to Ireland, 2014
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.
Met Jackie at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. Self ordered her collection The Wounded Stork, as soon as she got home.
Pale blue eyes looking up,
I put nitroglycerine under your tongue,
as we watch the football and
hum Nessum Dorma.
I help you to shave or tie a Windsor Knot,
each time noticing the beige circle
on your cheek,
melanoma erased by radiotherapy.
In July, you planted a rosemary bush.
Covered in ancient toil and sweat,
I help you undress in the hallway.
Closing the bathroom door, seeing you bare,
all of you was vulnerable and shorn,
shivering like a frightened lamb.
My skin burnt silently and slowly.
You looked at me and
I write you a poem with naked eyes.
Jackie Gorman has been published in a number of journals including Poetry Ireland Review, The Lonely Crowd, The Honest Ulsterman and in anthologies such as The Windows Anthology. She was part of the 2017 Poetry Ireland Introduction Series, a national programme to profile and support emerging poets in Ireland.