Tag Archives: inspiration

Sunday morning….

Today is the day! Nick is participating today in the triatholon to raise awareness and funds for people with acquired brain injuries. Come cheer him on from the sidelines with me, and further the cause however you can.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

The mad rush of Saturday, trying to get everything prepared, to cover all bases and failing abysmally to catch up after a week of mayhem is followed by a gentle awakening to a perfect Sunday morning. Luxuriant moments of stillness and warmth, where every muscle, just for once, feels relaxed and comfortable. Birds serenade the morning, shafts of pale light tease me to open my eyes…

… then the dive out of bed, the lunge for the dressing gown and the ungainly stumble in the general direction of the kettle. I need coffee. Lots of coffee. Time to move the stiffness out of the achy bits…. No-one should have to be out of bed this fast on a Sunday. Granted, working every day of the week means I’m always up early, but this is ridiculous… I shouldn’t be up before the sun in the middle of summer…

The dogless house…

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My son, the triathlete…

An incredible, inspiring post from Sue Vincent about her son, indomitable and amazing as ever. He’s biking in a triatholon to raise money for people with acquired brain injuries, please support him and the cause!

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

nick-trike-park-birds-flowers-trees-009

You may know my son’s story. For once, I have no problem repeating it for those who do not. I have a very good reason for it that I have been bursting to share!

In 2009 my son was 25… a good looking, successful young man with a fast car, nice apartment near the coast and a very promising career. That ended on July 4th when he was left for dead in a Bournemouth alley, stabbed through the brain in an unprovoked attack.

2009 before the attack 2009 before the attack

I have written before of the terror of the next days as he underwent brain surgery to remove the shards of shattered bone from the left hemisphere of his brain. I have told of the weeks of heartache as we waited to see if he would live or die, while his brain bled and swelled, causing further damage to the brain stem itself…

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A Myth Retold

I will tell you of one among many origins of the story of Niamh, eyes like pearls, sea green, spun from the land of the young, that world which rendered our anguish and fight for survival well met in a peace that passes the understanding of mortal minds. I will tell you of the future time beyond my time when our tale was woven from tattered threads of what was left, fragments of tapestries of past to present, those same sung songs spilled inky black on page, to form the bounded shapes of words which history horded for itself and refused to relinquish completely to a culture we would neither recognize nor survive, had any of us really found ourselves transported, being all that we are, to that future time all of a sudden.

Long before the loamy clay of our sacred land was covered in the smog of exhaust from cars and the blasts from train horns and spotted with sprawling malls, paved with pebbles mixed with tar to muffle the mighty heartbeat of the earth, long before tales of a new god of the sky who tamed the wild hearts of those who dared be their own masters, the landscape breathed clean and clear, and the veil between the worlds came as near as the waves are to the shore. It was that a person could reach through the mist between in either direction, so that each could wander there, or here, and such journeys were to some extent expected, and understood.

It was on such a journey that she Manannán’s daughter, sea born, radiant bright, bridged from shore to shore the two worlds by her love and called out a name of an age, through which ran our wild ones in the flash of a moment, so that the fierce and fragile lessons in our living of it might withstand the test of time. For there was nothing then forgotten, and the tide had yet to turn.

And as Taliesin crossed the sea like a wise salmon to cradle the land in the soul’s own songs, so too would I, Oisín, one mortal soul, a representative of a passing age, forge at the turning of every opposite a steadfast bond between my world and hers of the golden hair, land and sea, heart and will, man and woman, time and eternity. For my name does not matter, and could have been any name, any one. I am the centuries and the song, I am the bones shaped from the marrow of time, enthralled with the breathtaking beauty of every world.

As Rhiannon speeds her horse across the sky to guide the sun, uniting the middle world with the land of stars, so does Niamh speed her white mare over the clouds of billowing sea, her golden tresses trailing behind her, whipped by the wind, leading the cycles of light that brighten the way between ending and becoming. It was said that the earth heard her calling, and in the fog I heard whispered my own name, and there I was leaping up behind her, the child of sea itself, and we thought we could stride together across centuries, and see the gaps between our worlds disappear.

But many people began to turn their eyes away from the rocks and the trees, and the sea and the sky, stranded where they used to belong, unsure whether home lay in the land or the heavens. They lost track of the way their footsteps matched the rhythm of the seasons, and forgot how to move lightly across the land, forgot that the earth held them in her arms and could provide all they needed if only they had respect, could remember who they are. And the more that was forgotten of the old ways, the harder it became to hold another from another world, and I, who was of the physical world, built from it, born from it, knew that soon the time would come, when not I, nor anyone after me, would walk between the worlds unaided, as sure as I knew waves could never break without a sea strand.

Of the love that Niamh and I shared, a bond between worlds, it would not survive such a separation. Nothing, no one can. Had we but known we would soon be separated, love torn from love, not even to have a glimpse of one another’s faces across the wasteland of the forgotten, would we have done any differently? Who among us in the midst of living out loud their majestic, wondrous spark of being, could honestly predict the keening of souls parted from their origins, ignorant during life of that truth of rebirth that quells the fear of death and loss.

And afterward, when my story was told, pulled into the generations where saints saved all but the gods, it was said I died an ancient one, aged by more than two hundred years since I crossed over. It was the age itself that died, that which was carried by the people of my time, our beliefs, our ways, unintelligible to some, threatening to others.

Now the landscape was blind, it no longer kept watch quietly in the night like a mother for her children. No more was earth dynamic and alive but inanimate, decreed so by the new god believed to have dominion over the earth, and later generations adopted this sense of power for themselves. The hills were just hills, and the pool beneath the nine hazel trees no longer held the same mystery to those who passed it by.

It is from our sorrows, not our joys, that the story is usually told. But now, the tide turns again. Again I travel past the ninth wave, passed the reckoning of the spinners of dreams, through the watery caves of the unborn, and the last current of change carries us toward the dawn on the horizon ahead.

Within each of us stands the door of the otherworld, the only wild frontier left to dare, hidden in the landscape of bone, the last undying love out of whose arms we cannot be borne away or uprooted and torn, or undone like the ruins of the ancestors’ dwelling places. Up to each of us, too, to gather the fragile memories, and piece by piece, gently, carefully, fervently, bridge a new way, until the worlds are brought together whole. Then take up again the threads, child of the land and sea and stars, for once more our worlds are merging, and a new story must be told, with which to sunder separation, overrunning its torrents of terror like a landscape finally left to flourish in its own way, wild and unruly, untamed, unforgotten, cherished and shining, a song like the one not sung for over a thousand years, the chords rewandered, the words rewoven, shimmering through a life you spin of many moments into the future, to live full out and make your own.
***
This was, at least initially, inspired by Damh the Bard’s song, “Iron From Stone,” though the song is about a totally different story.
Iron From Stone Lyrics by Damh the Bard

I Resisted, I Got Inspired, I Tweeted

This is a post about how I started tweeting, some poems I have tweeted, and a fun venture you can join me in tweeting about.

I’m not enamored with social media. Don’t get me wrong, I like media—music, poetry, art, storytelling, informative news– and I like being social, so I see nothing inherently problematic about combining the two. But I’m hesitant to jump onto popular social media band wagons for two simple reasons.

First, most social media websites take an inordinately long time to navigate when the person trying to get around them is totally blind. I once tried planting plants in three friends’ farm patches on facebook, and after an hour and a half of technical negotiation, none of which involved down websites or malfunctioning programs, I succeeded. Which leads to the second reason I’m suspicious of engaging in too much social media: even if the sites were accessible, I believe I would get just as obsessed with posting on them as I already am and waste lots of precious time which I could spend on my career or, perhaps more importantly, on socializing with friends over email or in person which won’t result in PDC (i.e. Public Display of Communication.)

I’ve used facebook since my sophomore year in college when it first came out and was a way for students at top American universities to connect with one another and the friend requests you would accept were from people you were already close friends with. You know, back in the day…

Mostly I now use facebook to participate in closed private groups because anything I want to post on there is usually something I ought not associate with my real name: I’m still in the broom closet. Actually I am technically at the moment in my living room, the closet is metaphorical.

But, it’s surprising how often, as a pagan, I have to be exceedingly careful, especially as I have as many friends in the physical world as on the other side, and that’s not considered normal. If only facebook let you have more than one identity! (I’m sure men and women fleeing abusive relationships and double-agent spies would appreciate this as much as closeted pagans and other targeted minorities, facebook! Come on with it then…)

In any case, although twitter does allow, fortunately, sensibly, responsibly, for as many identities as you like, I struggled for a long time with actually getting onto twitter. I kept feeling like I am this old fashioned thirty-something person who likes face to face communication, and more importantly, I’m a person. Whoever heard of a person tweeting? The concept sounded so absurd to me. I mean, if I walked into a room and five or six people were literally standing around tweeting, I’d get concerned, and quickly. Especially if their vocal bird calls were too convincing. Then I would probably sincerely ask them if they were channeling bird spirits—and I don’t mean the kind of spirits birds might consume to get intoxicated.

I decided therefore that I never wanted it to be said of me that I had tweeted. I imagined a list of modern honors and deeds one might recount upon a person’s death: “She was a wonderful person, no one has ever spoken ill of her, she was a loyal friend, she was never rude in the use of her cell phone, and she has tweeted.”

This imagined scenario made me shutter and adamantly think, not of me, please! I felt like tweeting might once and for all situate me in the modern age, an age I often don’t understand and even less often agree with. Not that past ages were any better. But I live now, so I can point out what’s wrong about the present and usually get away with it, and with sympathy.

That all changed when Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty posted an invitation to tweet love poems based on Irish mythology to coincide with the coming out of their jointly written book, Grá Mo Chroí, , which I encourage everyone to read! It’s a wonderful book. And, what is more, once I read the previously mentioned invitation, my antitweet resolve began breaking down. To my astonishment, I found myself creating a twitter account. Then, to much less astonishment and great fun, I discarded my, albeit never officially stated, vow to refrain from having tweeted, and have tweeted (twittered?) more times than I can count now.

I’m not sure what the protocol is about posting tweeted things on a blog, but here are a few of my tweeted poems. I’ll create another post with poems by/about my ancient family more directly, as they deserve a space of their own.

***

Together sound
Songbird and foghorn
Take care, come listen
Sirens seaward cry
A soaring and a warning
As day sings itself awake

***

To walk the path
Steeped in mystery
With false starts strewn
Step lightly
One word, yes
Begins your hero’s journey

***

The six encircle me in love
At the center
I, shaped as a star
Enfolded within
Their single light
Resonate with joy

***

Fierce passion Consumed their young souls
Now centuries flown
In the otherworld
They are love
A gentle light
Between them grown

***

Landscape aches
For ancient reverence
Carve a place
A new old way
Weave the pattern
Of what happens
Into being
Come home you say

***

Fretful my night
Until your light fills
This space, glowing
Dissolving my fear
Your silent strength
Guides your lost child home

***

Finally, I love playing around with words and decided to create a hashtag called #absurdwordnerd under which to write ridiculous new definitions of words. Creatively changing the word by adding or subtracting a letter and then redefining it is also totally silly and acceptable. For example:
Indentured servant: a servant with false teeth. #absurdwordnerd

I am doing this just because why not, and because I think the world needs more humor. So come participate whenever inspiration hits you (just ask it to hit nicely.)