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Finding Peace


International Day of Peace

A few weeks ago I had a writing date with a friend, the author Janette Byrne who wrote the inspiring book If It Were Just Cancer some years ago. As we walked and talked we searched for a subject to write about decided on Peace and how one found it in this noisy, anxious world. It set me thinking and writing, and this is what I found.

Finding peace – that holy of holiest places that we seek. It drops into our lives for moments or days and then disappears again in an instant of upset. But its arrival, even for that short space of time gives us an awareness of its existence and enough hope to allow us to keep seeking. But in seeking I wonder if we send it into hiding. Perhaps if we cease to search it will arrive to us as an unexpected guest, a friend who has been away too long.

Because what is peace? An acceptance that life is not perfect, that it is unfair. An acceptance that this world is cruel and beautiful, two sides of one coin.

Peace, I think is being content with this precious, present moment. The past is gone and no amount of tears or tantrums can change the trials we have endured; no more than we would want to change the hours of happiness we have experienced.

If we could simply live in the moment and not worry about the past or wonder about the future, or tomorrow or next week or next year . . .  what a gift that would be. Peace I think, is about being in the company of family, or  friends you can trust with your deepest thoughts, fears and joys. It’s taking time to sit and write about finding peace, and realising in that moment, in that act of writing that you’ve found it.

Et 2016

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Seven Days in DIY Heaven


Everyone who knows me, knows that I love Woodies. It is my favourite shop. So last weekend I spent some time there and found inspiraton for my poem

SEVEN DAYS IN DIY HEAVEN

 

 While you were gone on holiday for the week;

I thought I’d do some work about the house

DIY stuff; the work you hate . . .

 

So on Monday I cut the grass out the back and watered

The rose bushes. The red one you bought me last February was

In full bloom and it made me think about you and smile.

 

On Tuesday I vacuumed the house from the bedroom

All the way down to the hall, ‘cause you hate the noise from

The vacuum cleaner while you’re watching football.

 

On Wednesday I cleaned the windows . . .

I know you promised you’d get around to them last winter

But it’s summer now and the sunbeams show up  the dirt

 

On the glass, not to mention the moss on the path . . .

But I scrubbed that away on Thursday. And then

On Friday I painted the bathroom. And

 

I got the electrician to fix the broken bulbs.

You thought you’d get around to that before you left

And I understand you had to pack . . .

 

But I hate to shower in the dark.

It was Saturday before I fixed what I think was

A loose wire on the door-bell. Because

 

You’re mother phoned to say she’d called

Once or twice. But I swear I didn’t hear a thing

Never heard that doorbell ring.

 

On Sunday just before I left to pick you up at the airport

I checked on-line and saw your flight was delayed.

Your ETA was showing ten o’clock.

 

And would you believe

That was when I seized the opportunity

And changed the locks.

 

(C) Eithne Reynolds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack


images-4

Many years ago I had reason to visit St Mary’s Hospital in The Phoenix Park in Dublin over a long period of time. There I met a gentleman who could not speak. Yet night after night for years he had one visitor; a lady who sat with him and simply held his hand. Then one night I arrived and his bed was empty. It left me with a lot of questions and inspired this poem.

Jack

You lay there day after day, quietly waiting

For death to free you from your worn body.

For months I watched her come to your bed

And whisper softly to you.

You never responded to her gentle whisperings.

Were you not afraid that your silence

Would send her away as you lingered

Between this world and the next?

What act kindness

What gentle word

In your long life

Inspired her to keep

Her constant vigil

By your silent bed?

Did you slip away in your own quiet way

Or did they call to let her know

You were about to go?

And did she come to hold your hand

And did you feel her tears fall

Or had she shed them many months before?

Her vigil is ended.

Tonight I came and your bed is empty.

And I know nothing about you, but your name

And that, as your life drew to an end

You had a faithful friend.

 

Eithne Reynolds (c)

Barbaresco Serroboella 2000


My blog today is a poem inspired by a beautiful bottle of wine I received as a gift. I’m sure there will be lots of comments on whether I wrote it before or after I drank the wine.

IMG_4393

Barbaresco Serroboella 2000

Between us a bottle of Barbaresco Serroboella 2000
And a lifetime of history
Filled with bittersweet memories
Once stored
Now matured
To trickle through our conversations
Leaving teardrop stains like
Unpardonable beads of wine on
The white tablecloth.

 

Eithne Reynolds

Photo: Eithne Reynolds

Refugees and Rescuers


My Blog today is a poem inspired by the work and bravery of the men and women of the Irish Navy on board the L.É. Niamh and L.É. Eithne. When I watched them on the Late Late Show I felt I wanted to write something from both sides of the boat.

LE Eithne

 

REFUGEES AND RESCUERS

I’m sure you tasted the joy of expectation
I’m sure you tasted salt on your lips

I’m sure your heart swelled with anticipation
as the boat lifted on the crest of a blue Mediterranean wave.

I’m sure your arms were as full as your heart
as you strapped your infant tight to your breast

And gripped tiny hands to keep them close, because
there’s overcrowding on the boat and chaos all about.

I know your emotions must have been as turbulent as the sea,
leaving your home for a land unknown.

I know this, for I am a mother like you and
I would want my children to live free too.

I am sure your soul was swamped with terror
Just as the boat was swamped with waves, and

I’m sure you looked at your children
Determined not to make a choice

Which ones to take
Which one to leave

Three children
Two hands

One sinking dinghy
No life jacket.

I know you must have cried out to your God
Though perhaps your cry was drowned by the roar of the sea

But you must have known He’d heard your silent plea
As strong arms lifted you from the stormy sea

To the shelter of an Irish Naval Vessel
To hear an Irish welcome. Then

To see the light of an Irish smile
And the courage of the women

And men of the Irish Navy
Aboard the L.É. Eithne and Niamh

 

Eithne Reynolds

The L.É. Samuel Beckett is now in the Mediterranean continuing this great work.

This Morning . . .


 

Rainbow

This morning I read a beautiful piece that my friend, the poet Niall O’Connor posted on Facebook titled The Life of Poetry by Muriel Rukeyser. It struck a chord with me as I had just written a poem having found a photograph of my mother the previous evening. Rukeyser in the piece talks of poetry as “A way to allow people  . . . to feel the full value of the meaning of emotions  and ideas in their relations with each other.” Thank you for the sharing Niall. So I share this poem in its raw, un-worked state.  I don’t know if it’s the start of something bigger, or the end . . . of something I’ve been trying to say for years.

Mam

After all these years

I found her again in a photograph last night

And it’s not as if I don’t have hundreds

But this one was her . . .

Her in the middle of a party

Her in the middle of a song of laughter

With her head thrown back

Her blue rinsed hair curled too tight with

A look in her eyes that had a way of telling me

The world would come ‘round right.

Eithne Reynolds

Maybe tomorrow . . .


Erma Bombeck once said that if a woman ever needed a few hours to herself after the hectic festive season, all she had to do was say aloud:

“I think I will take the Christmas Tree down.”

According to Erma you only have to say it once and the house will magically empty within minutes. I thought about it yesterday and just as we were all going to bed I announced that I would take the Christmas tree down in the morning and Hey Presto this morning I am sitting alone writing my Blog. The Christmas lights are on and winking at me. Santa is smiling, and my beautiful furry snowman is still sitting at the piano.

Truth is I find it hard to take down my decorations. I love them. My favourite day of the year is the day I dress the house for Christmas. I venture up to the dark attic and pull out the boxes filled with my Christmas decorations. I love to open them  and re-discover each year the little ones I’ve totally forgotten about and the ones I inherited from my mother that bring to mind such memories. She too loved her Christmas decorations.

So everyone will return this evening expecting the house to be back to normal, whatever that is. But I silently wish that this was normal; being surrounded by little toys and lights that bring such delight to everyone who comes into the house.

So maybe tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I’ll take them down. But at this moment there is a tiny Santa train running around the base of the tree and I haven’t the heart to stop it. Besides the Three Wise Men have just arrived at the manger and I think it would be very rude of me to pack them off so soon after their long journey.