Seventies Beats


The summer of Seventy-six
Reaching Minnie Ripperton’s high notes  
Studying for the Leaving
A heatwave
lemonade, tall grass,  
Cycling to the lake
hair flying in the breeze
Diving in
Initial freeze
Sun on skin
Singing American Pie
Chevy to the Levy
What was a levy and why was it dry?
If Life is a Bowl of Cherries …
Singing harmony to Bohemian Rhapsody
Scaramouche, Play the Fandango
We were all opera singers
In our theatres of gravity
Janice Ian’s At Seventeen
Flicking pages of Edna O’Brien
Or was it Flowers in the Attic?
Feeling erratic
Flying free with Johnathon Livingston Seagull
The Dandelion Market
Henna, bangles, dangly earrings
Indian dresses, scents of Incense  
Patchouli, Lemon, Frankincense
Conforming, Civil Service
Merrion Square
Squeeze in the box
Feeling Nervous
Nutty rolls from Kylemore
Miles of walking through Dublin streets
Buses packed, one, two, three
Feeling the rhythm of tired feet
Living in that Georgian house
Leaky ceilings in heavy rain
Gas heaters, noxious fumes
Moore Street on a Saturday
Five for a Pound!
Bargains all round
Woman selling newspapers in a pram
Outside the Gresham
All in a day’s walk
Then, the backpack days
Sleeping on stony beaches in Hydra or Crete
Sore feet, heavy pack, hot sun
Feigning fainting, laughing all the way
Back to the wetlands—not so bad after all
Off again
Picking grapes by the Mosel
Blasting sun
Wine at night
Blazing fires
Working in Harley Street
White uniforms
Relief at Shepherd’s Bush
Walking along Baker Street
Jerry Rafferty in my ear

Dance Away with Brian Ferry
Portobello Road
Jamaican flair
Wild hair
Top Shop, Mary Quant
Remembering the sunshine
the melting tar
the music of that era
one of the best so far


Raw Lines from a Busy Mind

A side of me doesn’t want to avoid topics

because they disturb you, or him, or her

I know nobody who wants their peace disturbed

But there’s a lot of anger simmering in people


I do not believe most people want to destroy

unless they feel they have nothing to lose

unless their sense of injustice is too hard to bear


I brush these thoughts aside and gaze out the window

watching the tall pink flowers sway in the breeze

The white rose hides behind the tall grass

shaded by the buddlea


communing with bees and butterflies


My mind is restored now

to a semblance of peace

I am lucky; I have a house, a garden

food on my table

nice things to think about

Yet I cannot ignore the world around me

I will not ignore it

present and peony 001

If the first suffragette had not protested

would we have the vote?

If Rosa Parks had not been brave and refused to budge

would our black brothers and sisters be able to sit on a bus

like the rest of us?


Am I the rose, hiding behind the tall grass?

watching, waiting…

Am I the pink flower, swaying in the breeze, looking lovely?

Or the buddlea, basking in the sun

The oak, perhaps, who insists on dropping seeds, willy nilly,

like unwanted opinions?


If I ignore it, will it go away?







A Trip to Ireland – Part Two

We got to watch my brother, Sean, in action at a local hotel where he and a couple of Irish dancers, The Celtic Twins, and Paul Timoney, our local seanachai (story teller, pronounced shan a ki) entertained a group of American tourists. Paul Timoney spun a few tall yarns, followed by Sean with his guitar as he sang Leaving on a Jet Plane, Carrick Fergus, Mary Mack, Makem and Clancy’s  Spancil Hill, and a couple others I can’t remember. I just love his voice and his guitar music. Next up were The Celtic Blonds doing Irish dancing. Typical tourist fare. We sat discretely in the background and watched the group trying out their dance moves (we were a kinder version of Waldorf and Statler).

Our next destination was Miltown Malbay, in Co. Clare. My husband got the ‘flu, which severely limited our activities — a bit disappointing, but what can you do. We had a spectacular view from our room, and from the communal living room, onto the bay. I was most impressed by Wayne, the owner, who had built this amazing house and rented out several rooms to guests. Mornings saw him running back and forth, taking orders, cooking breakfast. Everything was perfect too, his timing, his coffee and his professionalism.

We drove down toward Kilrush and Kilkee, and on toward Loop Head because we thought it would be fun to visit the film site of Star Wars. Those cliffs are magnificent. Wayne, who also works as a life guard, told us he had just returned from the film site.

“Hardly anybody goes to those cliffs along Clare’s southern coastline,” he said.”Everyone goes to the Cliffs of Moher.”

There were tufts of pink flowers everywhere, shooting up between the rocks. I was hoping to spot a few sea lions or puffins, but that was not to be. There were lots of cows, sheep, crows and swallows though. IMG_20160516_195923

I took a good brisk walk out along the coast one evening and watched the setting sun and heard the swallows making funny squeaking noises, like those toy plastic ducks, or dolphins even.

Back to Loop Head. Unfortunately, they had closed off the road, but we enjoyed some great scenic spots along the way.

We stopped for a snack in a pub in Kilrush. The owner told us the film crew of Star Wars had been in the previous evening to watch a football match. Mark Hamill and the new female star were not amongst them, although they are currently in Ireland, I believe.

The ferry over to Kerry took about twenty minutes; it was shorter than the drive we had planned on taking to get to our next destination. I’m so glad I didn’t drive. The route was heart-in-your-mouth thrilling and frightening at times as we manoeuvered narrow roads between cliffs, with oncoming tour buses and tourists and locals driving hither and tither.

At least we had brilliant sunshine, but that was about to change a couple of days later.

We took the road to Kenmare and followed our instructions to the Swiss couple’s residence, half-way up the mountain, to our self-contained apartment, complete with log fire, lots of buddha heads and other iconic statues and artifacts, a rack full of trance and reggae music, with a few chill cd’s thrown in. We’ve been enjoying listening to them.

Again, we were/are so impressed with what this couple have managed to achieve ever since they left Zurich and bought this old dilapidated stone cottage on four acres of land over two decades ago. Their property is on a huge slope; there’s a gigantic rock at the back of their house. Renee said he had to free the rock from moss and other vegetation which had made its home there. He has built two glass houses, a hen house, a koi pond (sadly a heron ate five of the kois), a workshop for himself and a little stone house with a pool table next to our apartment. We can use it whenever we want. We can explore the garden too and snip some of the fresh herbs scattered throughout. If we find any eggs, we can help ourselves too. His sheds and structures are filled with little interesting details and painted in bright colours, but not gaudy. Our huge terrace overlooks a meadow with sheep and their lambs, and we can watch the sun playing hide and seek over the mountains in the distance. Starlings have nested under our roof and I see them flying back and forth with fat worms in their beaks and making a terrible racket. Two swallows sit up on the overhead wires, a foot apart, and don’t talk to each other.


The bug hit me too, and I’ve been walking around like a zombie. I refuse to give in, although last night I made a delicious chicken soup with chilli and turmeric and lots of vegetables and painted a picture. Since I didn’t bring my painting stuff, I bought a cheap set and had lots of fun playing with colours. I’ll add the final touches later, or maybe I won’t. my seascape

Looks a bit of a mess if you ask me!

I also discovered there’s a poetry workshop in Kenmare tomorrow morning and have signed up for it. It’s being held in the library. That should be fun (I hope).

We’re returning, via Killarney, on Sunday and will be leaving for the U.K. on Monday, where we’ll spend a few days before returning to Germany.

I’m glad in a way that that we’ve had a day of heavy rain and pretty strong winds. Otherwise I wouldn’t have wanted to leave.







Petals of One Flower


We watch and wait with bated breath and woe

Confronted with confounded sense and fears

Events unfurl, such sudden death, in tow

Who’s next we ask, in sad suspense, and tears


To see our clan who suffers such travails

While we continue with our lives back here

We pause to feel their sadness, hear their tales

The pain’s so harsh; we flee and go not there


We enter worlds, distracting from that place,

Where buds are sprouting from awakened soil.

Birds chirp and chatter, dismal thoughts erase

Horrific scenes from whence our souls recoil.


This too will pass and we’ll forget once more

For this is how we cope with fear and stress

What’s far away cannot affect our core

It’s nature’s way to toss it and suppress


We must remember in this most dismal hour

That all of us are petals of one flower


Throwing Seeds for Bees


We’re in between two eclipses
Illuminating insecurities
Re-examining our past
Getting glimpses of the future
Where are we going? What’s important?
What’ll we leave behind?
The baggage, the worn-out clothes
Idiotic ideas, psychobabble

And you know, you can’t find your own truth
If you don’t listen to yourself
Cut out the noise for a while every day
Re-align yourself with who you are
Go back to the happy times, the best moments
Those times you laughed out loud
They are probably the simplest moments

Maybe it is true that this stage we’re on
The play we’re in is self-written
Isn’t that just something?
We can mould and shape is as we want
Rewrite the script
Add more humour, snazz up the dialogue
Cut out some of the annoying characters

Our cells respond to the vibration of the words
The thoughts we think, the food we eat
The drinks we drink
Let’s think dazzling thoughts
plant a few pansies
They’re not expensive
Or Violas with their little smiling faces
Dig up a few weeds and cut back
The rose bushes?
If you know where to cut; I’m not always sure

The sun will be shining soon and you want that
Garden to be pretty
But don’t cut back too far
Leave room for the bird’s nests
And don’t forget to throw
Handfuls of wild flowers seeds
We need those bees


The Walnut Picker



I used to watch her as she filled her bucket with
Freshly-picked walnuts in the old courtyard
It felt as if I was viewing a film from the past
Or an artist’s masterpiece; so perfect was the scene
Somehow I sensed her presence when autumn days
Set in and the sun prepared for its winter retreat

She too sensed mine; she’d look up at the sandstone
Building from sixteen-thirty-nine and wave shyly
Then look at her palms and laughing, showed her
blackened hands; no longer worried about decorum
For her days of vanity had long passed and
Her floral dress billowed softly in the gentle breeze

I cannot describe the sadness I felt this year when I
Saw her empty bucket lying on its side
The shivering trees sent signals of loss as
Fruits spread over shadowed ground
The scene without the walnut lady was sad
And I sensed that something was amiss

Someone said her mind betrayed her in the end
That she spends her days picking imaginary fluff from
Childhood memories. The walnut tree stands erect
In memory of her happy face as she picked the perfect
fruit off its limbs; waiting for her smiling face
And the loving touch of blackened walnut-picking hands.