Friday, 24 December 2010

Monday, 6 December 2010

And I dreamt

And I dreamt my uncle sat on a sack
At the back of the tractor
his brother the driver
And I squeezed in, somehow
my feet on a chain that held something
And some sway as our exhaust wheezed o'er the hill

The sky, the sea, the sand slipped by
Leaving farm-house and fireside far below.

The keepers of the mountain
with their tangled horns
and spot-red fleece cross eyed us
they scattered and spilled
with syrupy sure-footedness
across their rock carpet domain

Cruel crows caught by their beaked curiosity
Hung lazily from posts
Their dried feathers flapping
Their spirits flown
Where sky and moor and harshness closed in

What gold we found beneath the earth
Was cut and chopped and carved for warm dreams
Of Sunday afternoons sleeping uncles

Guarded by the soldierly tick-tock, tick-tock
Of the grandfather clock
as time itself stood still
in that sun spilled living room

The tidy death of flies lay on the sill
the dying buzz-buzz of a bluebottle
strained to escape
its laced-curtain prison
back to the mountain.

© 2009 Mervyn Cooke

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Rhyme & Reason 20th Anniversary edition - Viva Chile

They have just released the 20 th Anniversary edition of Rhyme & Reason

A couple of poems from O Derry Boy are there for the first time published in UK.

Chile - what can I say - here is a version of what i wrote for the Chinese audience.

69 days, 33 miners, 1 dream
From the moment we knew the miners were alive, their ordeal, their journey has captivated millions of people across the world. Their fears became our fears Their hopes became our hopes Their dream became our dream They are our brothersAnd as brothers and sisters we prayed.  We prayed for their safe return. And their journey has begun.
Their faith in God, in the human spirit and in the co-operation of their fellow citizens gave them the strength to ascend from the darkness into the clear bright light of day.  They were re-born, alive again.
I have lived in South America.  I know their culture. I know their language. I know their spirit.
And I know today, across Chile their hearts and voices and spirit will shout ‘Viva Chile’, ‘ Viva los 33 mineros’  May their message be an inspiration to us and to all people.

Friday, 30 July 2010

A Heaney Classic

The Blackbird of Glanmore

On the grass when I arrive
Filling the stillness with life,
But ready to scare off
At the very first wrong move,
In the ivy when I leave,

It's you, blackbird, I love.

I park, pause, take heed.
Breathe. Just breathe and sit
And lines I once translated
Come back: 'I want away
To the house of death, to my father

Under the low clay roof.'

And I think of one gone to him,
A little stillness dancer -
Haunter-son, lost brother -
Cavorting through the yard,
So glad to see me home,

My homesick first term over.

And think of a neighbour's words
Long after the accident;
'Yon bird on the shed roof,
Up on the ridge for weeks -
I said nothing at the time

But I never liked yon bird'

The automatic lock
Clunks shut, the blackbird's panic
Is shortlived, for a second
I've a bird's eye view of myself,
A shadow on raked gravel

In front of my house of life.

Hedge-hop, I am absolute
For you, your ready talkback,
Your each stand-offish comeback,
Your picky, nervy goldbeak -
On the grass when I arrive,

In the ivy when I leave.

(c) seamus heaney

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Reviews, Gigs & other stuff

Hey - we did a gig at the Camden Eye
you can view the review and Youtube recordings here

(Not a pretty sight! : (

Apologies if you find some of the language offensive!

The Goat St. Albans - 30 March
Camden Eye: 18 April

See you there!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

China through the lens of John Thomson

China through the lens of John Thomson 1868-72

The Shield of Achilles (Part 2)

She looked over his shoulder
For ritual pieties,
White flower-garlanded heifers,
Libation and sacrifice,
But there on the shining metal
Where the altar should have been,
She saw by his flickering forge-light
Quite another scene.

Barbed wire enclosed an arbitrary spot
Where bored officials lounged (one cracked a joke)
And sentries sweated for the day was hot:
A crowd of ordinary decent folk
Watched from without and neither moved nor spoke
As three pale figures were led forth and bound
To three posts driven upright in the ground.

The mass and majesty of this world, all
That carries weight and always weighs the same
Lay in the hands of others; they were small
And could not hope for help and no help came:
What their foes like to do was done, their shame
Was all the worst could wish; they lost their pride
And died as men before their bodies died.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

A Thousand Splendid Suns (READ IT!)

Kahled Hosseini's potrayal of Afgahni women under the Taliban, is a hauntingly, soul searing search for love, freedom and self realisation under the cruellest of regimes, a man and a woman.

' Mariam is never very far. She is here, in these walls they've repainted, in the trees they've planted, in the blankets that keep the children warm, in these pillows and books and pencils. She is in the children's laughter. She is in the verses Aziza recites and in the prayers she mutters when she bows westwards. But, mostly, Mariam is in Laila's own heart, where she shines with the bursting radiance of a thousand suns.'

excerpt from A thousand Splendid Suns (c) Khaled Hosseini 2007

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snow on Snow (listen to the podcast -------->>>>

Snow is sometimes a she, a soft one.
Her kiss on your cheek, her finger on your sleeve
In early December, on a warm evening,
And you turn to meet her, saying, 'It's snowing'
But it is not. And nobody's there
Empty and calm is the air.

Sometimes the snow is a he, a sly one
Weakly he signs the dry stone with a damp spot.
Waifish he floats and touches the pond and is not.
Treacherous-beggarly he falters, and taps at the window.
A little longer he clings to the grass-blade tip
Getting his grip.

Then how she leans, how furry foxwrap she nestles
The sky with her warm, and the earth with her softness.
How her lit crowding fairlytales sink through the space-silence
To build her palace, till it twinkles in starlight
Too frail for a foot
Or a crumb of soot.

Then how his muffled armies move in all night
And we wake and every road is blockaded
Every hill taken and every farm occupied
And the white glare of his tents is on the ceiling..
And all that dull blue day and on into the gloaming
We have to watch more coming

Then everything in the rubbish-heaped world
Is a bridesmaid at her miracle.
Dunghills and crumbly dark old barns are bowed in the chapel
of her sparkle,
The gruesome boggy cellars of the wood
Are a wedding of lace
Now taking place

© Copyright Ted Hughes