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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

NY Literary Magazine Awards


 

 

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I’ve been on a bit of a Blog holiday over the past few weeks. Summer was terrific with family members back home, from all over the world, New Zealand; Abu Dhabi; Italy; and Poland. It was magic with the feeling that everyone was back where they should be, for a little while at least. (Or back where I think they should be . . . which is a whole different story.) Anyway it was all fun. And then as I was getting back on track and putting a new blog post together on Wednesday I received  a lovely email to say that one of my poems would be published in the NY Literary Magazine and a further email yesterday to say it had been awarded the gold medal in the N Y Literary Magazine poetry competition.  So so Happy.

And  if you would like to read my poem its here.  check it out on page 32

Et

 

Jack


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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)

The Crib at St Gabriel’s Church


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It was a privilege to be allowed a little preview of the renovation work in progress on the crib in St Gabriel’s Church in Clontarf. This Dublin church holds a host of treasures.

 

I have written previously on the stunning mosaic of the Stations of the Cross that line the walls. This mosaic, depending on the day, and the light that catches it at a given moment, can reflect many moods, and transport you back to a different time and space. I only came upon the incredible Stations of the Cross a few years ago, and it was an equally pleasant surprise to discover the crib.

I was passing St Gabriel’s Church in the late evening about three weeks ago and noticed the lights were burning brightly in the church. Thinking I might catch the end of mass, I wandered in. However, the church was empty except for a handful of people busy at work. I met the sacristan Pearse Bell and he explained that the Monday maintenance men were busy at work, preparing the church for the Christmas celebrations, and in particular, the crib.
I first met Pearse when I wrote about the Stations of the Cross and he invited me to take a look at the crib, a work in progress and a labour of love.

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The crib renovations are a work-in-progress. Work on the three statues of the Holy Family is complete and they are now transformed to their former glory. The rest of the crib figures will undergo similar transformation over the next few months. It is hoped to have all the figures restored for the 60th Jubilee celebrations to be held in the church during 2016. The stable itself is beautifully constructed in its own niche at the end of the church, and is so realistic it invites you to enter and join the Holy Family and the animals that inhabit the space. Speaking of the animals, the statue of the cow is particularly magnificent, its head tilted, its eyes resting on the Child. You have to resist the urge to reach out your hand to feel its breath warming the Baby Jesus, as told in the original Nativity story.

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The statues, according to Matt Doyle, who is in charge of the renovations, were probably hand-carved in Germany and date back to the mid 20th century.

This beautiful crib is well worth a visit over the Christmas period. While there, enjoy the beauty of this church with its stain-glass window of the Angel Gabriel and the magnificent mosaic of the Stations of the Cross.

 

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.

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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.