Poem Published In Dempsey & Windle Newsletter 115 4/10 2021

Abhanian na Sláne

High in Wicklow’s Lugulla Mountain you were born
slipping to life, they named you after Sláne,
son of the First High King, whose sword
welded Leninster in being. You scroll your way
from your birth rock nestled by fey trees, lush farms:
the towns: Ballincorty, Enniscorthy, Tullow, Ballinglass
— I know them well —
rising stronger, wider till you fall to Wexford, die in the sea.

You are a symbol of life, Slaney as they call you now
in that tongue he never spoke, yet still holds meaning:
you are the river of health and wholeness; something
we seek but never find in these times as the earth cries;
even the trout, the salmon do not rise as one they did.

I played upon your banks, learned the art of tickling trout
and crossed you every time to visit old family places,
my mother’s trip to lay flowers on her parents’ grave.
We’d gather round the fire in my Aunt’s long house,
swam your waters as at Rosslaire where they met the sea .

Now in a foreign place I see you framed on a wall,
the Forth Mountain rising above your wide waters,
and  catch your eye as he did when he swam ashore.
I’m once again in Sláne’s arms immersed in those times:
with those people now gone, healed by your waters —
my being, soul returned to strength, to wellness.

Carolyn O’Connell

A New Poem Published in Reach Poetry 274 August 2021

Thanks to Ronnie Goodyear the Editor I have the following poem Published in this Issue .

Living Gently

Sitting in the shade I dream
of that beach of silver sand,
walking dunes where grass
grasps back the wild waves.
A path winds between
wildflowers blue, gold, reds
patterning a bedspread
of dreams, desires:
freedom from the presence
of fears, surrounding silence
capturing my heart.

I turn toward the cobbled streets:
the red roofed houses, clustered
as they cling a narrow path,
to open to a cobbled square
dressed with trees, geraniums.

Cafés spread welcoming awnings.
I take a seat, order fresh croissants
a coffee, sit, watch the busy crowds
gather on this market day.
A glass of wine, why not?
time has no meaning on this day!
The waiter chats inquiring
“would Madam like another glass, or cholate?”

I can taste, feel
the hand of the chocolatier,
the tongue of the vintner
blending, fashioning this sunlit town.

Carolyn O’ Connell © Published in Reach 274 August 2021

Horwich Memories

This poem is now pinned on The Places in Poetry North-West Section during the Lancashire Lit Fest.
the pin is Bolton. Thanks to Paul Farley & Andrew McRae for accepting it

Horwich Memories

They lay where his roses once grew
beside an old chapel named New,
watching a loved panoramic view
scene from an old wall to the Irish Sea.

Memories sweet I hold of that spot
a cottage where love sprouted twice,
it’s rocking chair and a special cake;
walks up to the moor rising high above.

Tobogganing on tea trays or hessian bags
was a Boxing Day ritual when snow spread
its blanket on fields above River Douglas,
Easter walks on the moors to gather wildflowers
and climbing the Pike was a ritual honoured.

Summer brought trips to sea at Southport
or Morecombe, buckets & spades, swimsuits
fish & chips, rides and ice cream brought delight
we’d return after picnics & a wander of shops.

Now they’re gone but the memories live on
 mother and step-father, days doused in love & fun.l ©

The Cows Walk In — Carolyn O’Connell Published on The BeZine March Issue 2021

The cows graze in the green valley
on grass studded with wildflowers,
drink from a river where trout play
voles dance on through its banks.

They walk to parlour when they want
when their bodies say they need to be milked
hitch themselves to the robotic machine
that cleans udders, sucks the milk away.

There’s little labour for the farmer 
no need to round-up, milk or carry
or spray pesticides as his father did: 
he’s alerted to all twenty-four hours
for the land looks after itself, rain or shine.

He’ a happy man for his milk sells 
for premium prices, he exports it 
for its value for its great goodness,
filled with nature’s gentle bounty
and tuned to the season’s rhythms.

The cows, and the productive land
he’ll pass in perfection to his children.

                                                          —7/2/2021

Poem of the Quality of Mersey

This film gives a taste of the anthology in which I have the honour of being included at the beginning, though not in the film. Get it to have the full experience following a look at the film which was made during the summer of the COVID.
https://vimeo.com/465059978?fbclid=IwAR1xzijVhMWFOFVSMGSFaVRWqOKilPJEVuM6rElYd6WGbg24sp-PEyKG6_g

The Quality of Mersey Film The Quality of Mersey project stems from the creative groups that attended the Everyman Bistro spoken poetry nights during 2018 and 2019. First the anthology of 36 poets and now the short film that was created as lockdown restrictions were easing. The Quality of Mersey, the collection that details the cultural, spiritual and physical journey of the river from mouth to source, was curated from many submissions by Birkenhead poet Barry Woods. Woods says; ‘It was exciting to see the high quality, diversity and range of submissions we received for this book – we were overwhelmed with the response from such a poetic city. John Gorman and myself have been regulars on the local open mic circuit for a long time in Liverpool and he came up with the idea of having poets write about their respective areas and to give us some shared sentiments.’ Film makers Tristan Marshall and Leonie Abisgold-Rayner showed a keen interest on developing the idea and so the project was taken on visually. It has drone footage by Paul Conlin and a musical score by Dora Kmezić. The film has both shades of light and dark, with 8 poems from the anthology that we felt contrasted each other.

Lammas – Celebrating Abundance

A lovely inspiration

Alys West

summer-2404769_1920

At this time of year, grain is ripening in the fields, there’s crops of fruits ready and gardens are lush with colour.  This first harvest is celebrated as Lammas (also known as Lughasadh) and takes place on 1st August in the Northern hemisphere this year.  The word ‘Lammas’ comes from ‘loaf mass’ as traditionally bread would be taken to the church to celebrate the grain harvest.

There’s a lot of folklore associated with the Corn God who dies with each harvest to be reborn in future harvests.  In some traditions this is symbolized by Demeter, the Corn Mother, who represents the ripe corn of the harvest and her daughter, Kore/Persephone who represents the grain-seed who lives in the dark through the winter to re-appear in the spring as new growth.  This dual aspect represents both the harvest which will sustain through the winter months and the seed which will grow…

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Another New Anthology

Stones Have Their Own Language INSIDES (2)
This anthology has been published to celebrate the past and present of this medieval church and is available from the church St. Helen’s Whitton Church Northwich, Cheshire. I have the honour to have a poem included. Click on the link for further information

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New Anthology

Stones Have Their Own Language INSIDES (2)
This anthology has been published to celebrate the past and present of this medieval church and is available from the church St. Helen’s Whitton Church Northwich, Cheshire. I have the honour to have a poem included. Click on the link for further information

dsc_0534-2
New Anthology

New Poem Published on The Bezine

Carolyn O’Connell

Deforestation in the Maranhão state of Brazil, 2016, courtesy of Operação Hymenaea, Julho/2016 under CC BY 2.0

“We’re fighting for soil, land, food, trees, water, birds. We’re fighting for life.”  Gregorio Mirabal, Indigenous leader and coordinator of the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA)



the Amazon burns! No one
quells the fires
air; knowledge is lost in the fire.
Waters run polluted! No one
seeks to free fish
or children drinking poison.
Air spins in cyclones
destroying all under its twisting cloud
flooding the earth.
Metal is used to make war
peoples flee
are called predators by those who’ve only known comfort.
Are we but people
whatever language colour, creed
we came from one source?
But will expire
in our own detritus
unless we care for our planet
which will spin
into the void of extinction
unless we care for it and others.

© 2019, Carolyn O’Connell

Thanks to G.Jamie Deeds