Poem: To Éire with Love

Writing the last few pages of my novel about Anne Brontë in-between working the day job, dealing with wind storms, power outages and a snow storm, means I haven’t had the time or energy to come up with a new post for St. Patrick’s Day. So, once more, I’m sharing this poem and illustration inspired by one of three trips I made to Ireland in the 1980’s. (There are also some allusions to a couple of traditional Irish folk songs…curious if anyone knows what they are) The painting was actually never quite finished. I decided to leave it so.
As a side note, as some of you may know, the Brontë’s had Irish roots through their father Patrick Bronte (nee Prunty, Brunty or Bruntee), born in a two roomed cabin at Emdale in the parish of Drumballyroney, County Down.

 

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

I traveled there a woman

and came back a child

with my eyes full of the clouds

coming over the mountains

so I could never tell

how high they were,

the rivers going on

forever,

the irises

floating down to the sea,

the fuchsias so wild

but not really.

All along the way

cowslips lived

where meadows survived

and milkmaids didn’t mind

the rain

so sudden

as suddenly gone.

The fields were greener than any

in France

through the glass of our visit

going down to the sea,

everywhere surrounding,

only my heart brave enough

to go on

into the waves,

a lonesome boatman calling me

to come live with him

forever.

1983

 

March 17th is also ‘St Gertrude’s Day’, the Patron Saint Of Cats. Bless all the kitties, here and in the hereafter. The one in this illustration looks like my Gabey, who I very recently lost and miss so deeply. It makes me sad but, also, comforted.

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

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Journeying to Ireland – Repost

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

♣ A spring Sunday in Dublin, Christ’s little brides happy to celebrate with a meal at McDonalds
♣ From coast to coast, covered in cowslips and folksongs
♣ Not a limerick heard, not even in its place where we stayed entertained by a harp’s angel
♣ Bumping along in coaches with windows steamed and destinations , like the weather, constantly changing
♣ The mystery of alpine flowers on the Burren’s stony paradise
♣ Orchids not for picking
♣ Layers of streets, a lunch of mussels and beer, and buying old postcards in Galway
♣ Thoughts swept away by the cliffs of Moher
♣ Secluded coves with sandy beaches
♣ The mile long dream of Dingle, being Ryan’s daughter, tea with Peggy and tales of Gregory Peck
♣ Shrine at Slea head, the edge of the world
♣ A ring in Kerry that never broke its promise
♣ Starlings descending on Killarney
♣ Muckross magic in mossy woods, botanical gardens, mist shrouded mountains and mirror-clear lakes
♣ Rhododendrons and fuchsias wilder than anywhere else would allow
♣ The meeting of the waters and differing reasons for being there
♣ Miles and miles of freedom on a bicycle
♣ Airy woods of oak and ash and silver birch, feathery fern, lichen dripping and moss imagining a smaller world
♣ Fields of gorse and heather blending yellow and purple
♣ Sunshine and rain breezing in and out, taking turns to create the artist’s view
♣ Water, water everywhere, all around and in-between
♣ Sudden cascades and corners of serenity
♣ Train station benches turned for looking the other way
♣ A cottage for a week, stray cats at the door, peat burning slowly and sweetly, wild mushrooms and blackberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

♣ A thousand welcomes from new friends who would never be old
♣ Not a day or night without a smile and a song
♣ So much more to remember than forget

And so I return, again and again.

I traveled there a woman
and came back a child
with my eyes full of the clouds
coming over the mountains
so I could never tell
how high they were;
the rivers going on
forever,
the irises
floating down to the sea,
the fuchsias so wild,
but not really.
All along the way
cowslips lived
where meadows survived
and milkmaids didn’t mind
the rain
so sudden
as suddenly gone.
The fields were greener than any
in France
through the glass of our visit
going down to the sea,
everywhere surrounding,
only my heart brave enough
to go on
into the waves,
a lonesome boatman calling me
to come live with him
forever.
DM Denton 1983

Diane on Dingle Beach 1983

Diane on Dingle Beach 1983

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

Journeying to Ireland (repost)

Previously, I’ve shared how I went there a woman and came back a child with my eyes full of the clouds coming over the mountains.

Going through letters from England, now to myself, I found some further thoughts on my three journeys to Ireland that took me halfway home but all the way to where I needed to be.

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

♣ A spring Sunday in Dublin, Christ’s little brides happy to celebrate with a meal at McDonalds
♣ From coast to coast, covered in cowslips and folksongs
♣ Not a limerick heard, not even in its place where we stayed to hear a harp’s angel
♣ Bumping along in coaches with windows steamed and destinations , like the weather, constantly changing
♣ The mystery of alpine flowers on the Burren’s stony paradise
♣ Orchids not for picking
♣ Layers of streets, a lunch of mussels and beer, and buying old postcards in Galway
♣ Thoughts swept away by the cliffs of Moher
♣ Secluded coves with sandy beaches
♣ The mile long dream of Dingle, being Ryan’s daughter, tea with Peggy and tales of Gregory Peck
♣ Shrine at Slea head, the edge of the world
♣ A ring in Kerry that never broke its promise
♣ Starlings descending on Killarney
♣ Muckross magic in mossy woods, botanical gardens, mist shrouded mountains and mirror-clear lakes
♣ Rhododendrons and fuchsias wilder than anywhere else would allow
♣ The meeting of the waters and differing reasons for being there
♣ Miles and miles of freedom on a bicycle
♣ Airy woods of oak and ash and silver birch, feathery fern, lichen dripping and moss imagining a smaller world
♣ Fields of gorse and heather blending yellow and purple
♣ Sunshine and rain breezing in and out, taking turns to create the artist’s view
♣ Water, water everywhere, all around and in-between
♣ Sudden cascades and corners of serenity
♣ Train station benches turned for looking the other way
♣ A cottage for a week, stray cats at the door, peat burning slowly and sweetly, wild mushrooms and blackberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

♣ A thousand welcomes from new friends who would never be old
♣ Not a day or night without a smile and a song
♣ So much more to remember than forget

And so I return, again and again.

And as a bonus, from St. Patrick’s ‘Breastplate’ Prayer:

I bind unto myself today

The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Diane on Dingle Beach 1983

Diane on Dingle Beach 1983

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

My Review of “Never Be At Peace” by M.J. Neary

Never Be At PeaceNever Be At Peace by M. J. Neary (published by Fireship Press)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once more Marina Julia Neary has proven she is an expansive writer, adept at handling a multitude of characters with honesty and imagination, intelligence and wit, engagement but also objectivity. Ms. Neary is ambitious and alert like a spider spinning a sticky web connecting many storylines into a saga spanning nearly forty years replete with twists of fate, theatrical egos, sexual maneuverings, impetuous love affairs, misbegotten off-spring, and impassioned if ambiguous conflicts in the protracted fight for Ireland’s independence that made history for textbooks and neglect.

As large as Ms. Neary’s storytelling is, it remains intimate and nuanced throughout with enjoyable and often insightful descriptions of the characters’ appearance and dress, what and even how they eat, their mannerisms and quirks, the places they haunt, and all kinds of details that make them real, ridiculous, amusing, talented and tragic but never larger than life. Yeats, Maud Gonne, Countess Constance Marckiewicz, James Connolly and any number of legendary individuals are drawn irresistibly conscionable and culpable, but not more so than the novel’s lesser-known figures—such as the feminist, activist, journalist and actress, Helena Molony.

Never Be At Peace pauses and moves along with verbose dialogue and distinct staging, unfolding with various personal and public dramas as though they are equally significant (and insignificant?); at least with the sense that they may be separated in dry facts but not in the human context of historic events. The informational aspect to Ms. Neary’s approach to historical fiction is more about style than didacticism. If it teaches anything, it is that nothing is what it seems—especially not history or heroism, loyalty or love.

Although writing about a similar progression of events as in her previous novel, Martyrs and Traitors, Ms. Neary has skillfully created a newly compelling story that has the reader forgetting they have been there before. Just as in life, so much is in the eye of the beholder. Never Be At Peace, despite its distractions and detours, is Helena Molony’s story: a testament to her courage and stumbling on her personal and civic passage through life, allowing the reader to breathe with relief for her vulnerability, forgive her “mistakes” and hope for a renewal of the vitality of her purpose. Yet, even as the novel represents Helena’s specific journey it highlights the experience of many women born or somehow persuaded to take outstanding roles in society, in relationships and even revolutions.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Read this review on amazon.com

Hope 2015 is getting off to a positive start for all!

Guest Post: Marina Julia Neary – Meet My Main Character Blog Tour

Marina Julia Neary was one of the authors I tagged for the “Meet My Main Character” blog tour I participated in last week. If you haven’t already, you can read my post here.

As Marina doesn’t have her own blog at this time, I’m happy to host her post on mine.

Purple2In breaking a little from the rules for this blog tour, Marina will be ‘talking’ about the main character of her recently released novel,  Never Be At Peace, published by Fireship Press. It is a companion piece to Martyrs and Traitors  published by All Things That Matter Press in  2011. You can read my review here. I’m certainly looking forward to reading her new one!

Here’s a synopsis:

Never Be At Peace by Marina Julia Neary

Never Be At Peace by Marina Julia Neary

A pugnacious orphan from a bleak Dublin suburb, Helena Molony dreams of liberating Ireland. Her fantasies take shape when the indomitable Maud Gonne informally adopts her and sets her on a path to theatrical stardom – and political martyrdom. Swept up in the Gaelic Revival, Helena succumbs to the romantic advances of Bulmer Hobson, an egotistical Fenian leader with a talent for turning friends into enemies. After their affair ends in a bitter ideological rift, she turns to Sean Connolly, a married fellow-actor from the Abbey Theatre, a man idolised in the nationalist circles. As Ireland prepares to strike against the British rule on Easter Monday, Helena and her comrades find themselves caught in a whirlwind of deceit, violence, broken alliances and questionable sacrifices. In the words of Patrick Pearse, “Ireland unfree shall never be at peace”. For the survivors of the Rising, the battle will continue for decades after the last shot had been fired.

Some early reviews:

“M. J. Neary’s Never Be at Peace is a gripping and intense tale of Ireland in the thick of revolution. Told from the perspectives of the brave and uncompromising men and women involved in the fight for independence, it will delight fans of women’s history and Irish history. Meticulously researched and boldly-written, Never Be at Peace is a masterful story that breathes life Edwardian Ireland and illuminates the hearts and minds of these unforgettable Irish patriots.” –Evangeline Holland, Edwardian Promenade

Sean Connolly's Death

© Drawing By Alissa Mendenhall

“Neary’s Helena Molony is a storm of a character who comes to life along with a cast of the giants of early 20th century Ireland. Helena’s story will stick with you long after you turn the last page.” –Meghan Walsh, The Recorder, The Journal of the American Irish Historical Society

And Marina’s answers to the questions about the novel’s main character.

What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
Helena Molony, 1884-1967. She is very much a real historical person.

When and where is the story set?
Ireland, early 20th century.  The novel spans World War I, the Easter Rising of 1916, the War of Irish Independence, the subsequent Irish Civil War, and finally, World War II.  It’s heavy on military history, light on bodice-ripping.

What should we know about him/her?
She is a spunky dreamer from a bleak Dublin suburb.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
There are several conflicts.  One is them is obvious, Anglo-Irish.  But I also wanted to focus on the conflict within the ranks of Irish revolutionaries.

What is the personal goal of the character?
Helena’s goal is to rebuild the romantic, heroic, liberated Ireland of her dreams.  The quest for independence goes horribly wrong, and the result is not quite what the heroine had envisioned. Heartbroken and disillusioned, she spirals into alcoholism and self-destruction.

What is the title of this novel, and can we read more about it?
The title is Never Be at Peace, and it’s inspired by Patrick Pearse’s graveside speech in 1915, “Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.”

When can we expect the book to be published? 
The novel was recently released through Fireship Press.

Here’s a wonderful interview with Marina about Never Be At Peace, which she did for the Historical Fiction Research Blogspot. You can find her on Facebook here.

Thank you, Marina, for participating in this blog tour.

And may I remind you:
I am offering a Giveway of my Kindle Short Stories
or an autographed copy of my novel, A House Near Luccoli.
You can read the details in my previous post of May 10th!

I’m living in hope of getting some takers! 🙂

 

Journeying to Ireland

Previously, I’ve shared how I went there a woman and came back a child with my eyes full of the clouds coming over the mountains.

Going through letters from England, now to myself, I found some further thoughts on my three journeys to Ireland that took me halfway home but all the way to where I needed to be.

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

♣ A spring Sunday in Dublin, Christ’s little brides happy to celebrate with a meal at McDonalds
♣ From coast to coast, covered in cowslips and folksongs
♣ Not a limerick heard, not even in its place where we stayed to hear a harp’s angel
♣ Bumping along in coaches with windows steamed and destinations , like the weather, constantly changing
♣ The mystery of alpine flowers on the Burren’s stony paradise
♣ Orchids not for picking
♣ Layers of streets, a lunch of mussels and beer, and buying old postcards in Galway
♣ Thoughts swept away by the cliffs of Moher
♣ Secluded coves with sandy beaches
♣ The mile long dream of Dingle, being Ryan’s daughter, tea with Peggy and tales of Gregory Peck
♣ Shrine at Slea head, the edge of the world
♣ A ring in Kerry that never broke its promise
♣ Starlings descending on Killarney
♣ Muckross magic in mossy woods, botanical gardens, mist shrouded mountains and mirror-clear lakes
♣ Rhododendrons and fuchsias wilder than anywhere else would allow
♣ The meeting of the waters and differing reasons for being there
♣ Miles and miles of freedom on a bicycle
♣ Airy woods of oak and ash and silver birch, feathery fern, lichen dripping and moss imagining a smaller world
♣ Fields of gorse and heather blending yellow and purple
♣ Sunshine and rain breezing in and out, taking turns to create the artist’s view
♣ Water, water everywhere, all around and in-between
♣ Sudden cascades and corners of serenity
♣ Train station benches turned for looking the other way
♣ A cottage for a week, stray cats at the door, peat burning slowly and sweetly, wild mushrooms and blackberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

♣ A thousand welcomes from new friends who would never be old
♣ Not a day or night without a smile and a song
♣ So much more to remember than forget

And so I return, again and again.

And as a bonus, from St. Patrick’s ‘Breastplate’ Prayer:

I bind unto myself today

The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Diane on Dingle Beach 1983

Diane on Dingle Beach 1983

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

To Éire with Love

I know a few of you will remember these pieces, but I thought they were worth reposting because they reflect my experience of Ireland. Both were written on trips I made to Southern Ireland in the 1980’s. (There are also some allusions to a couple of traditional Irish folksongs…curious if anyone knows what they are) The ‘Iris’ painting was actually never quite finished. I decided to leave it so.

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

I traveled there a woman
and came back a child
with my eyes full of the clouds
coming over the mountains
so I could never tell
how high they were;
the rivers going on
forever,
the irises
floating down to the sea,
the fuchsias so wild,
but not really.
All along the way
cowslips lived
where meadows survived
and milkmaids didn’t mind
the rain
so sudden
as suddenly gone.
The fields were greener than any
in France
through the glass of our visit
going down to the sea,
everywhere surrounding,
only my heart brave enough
to go on
into the waves,
a lonesome boatman calling me
to come live with him
forever.
1983
Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

This time the blackberries were ripening, seed pods cracking, rose hips shining in the sun blowing in and out of the sky. There was honeysuckle in the hedges, like the bloom in our cheeks as we rode along. And in the gorse and heather, again and at last. The moss was a carpet laid for our steps through a wood-and-wonder-land, dark oak, grey ash (red-berried too), silver birch and airy fern. And bluebells imagined, like a strawberry tree. Elsewhere there were mushrooms, surprising us like rabbits. While jackdaws were expected at the end of a shorter day, a silent peat fire making the night and reason we were together familiar.
Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

We lived day to day; what else was there to do? Waking to the rain that misted our view. Though it was something to see the crows claiming a chimney. To warm their hearts? Or dry their wings? By the time we ate our pink bacon the mountains were rising again. So we took to the road that still sounded wet, passing the jaunters as they passed us sympathizing or gloating as we walked up another hill. Sometimes we abandoned our wheels for the slowness of our step. To stray. Even from each other. And meet like the waters where time stood. But not too still, the water boatmen as busy as we weren’t, a fat robin flirting nearer and nearer until flying away, the light always changing.
So much time. To do nothing. But eat cream cakes and salads and sandwiches. And look at the mountains surrounding us more noticeably than the sea. It seemed all the same, being in love with each other and the place; at the end of the day going the same way as the jaunters who couldn’t see us either as we climbed gates and crossed fields, trespassing where we felt welcome.
1985

And as a bonus, from St. Patrick’s ‘Breastplate’ Prayer:

I bind unto myself today

The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.