Outside it is as if one season thrusts itself in to another. The birds still dress in black to traverse them. Gorse is flowering everywhere, yet frost whitens the moor. And now it’s started to snow –

You Have to Be Very Careful

January 24, 2019

You have to be careful telling things.
Some ears are tunnels.
Your words will go in and get lost in the dark.
Some ears are flat pans like the miners used
looking for gold.
What you say will be washed out with the stones.

You look for a long time till you find the right ears.
Till then, there are birds and lamps to be spoken to,
a patient cloth rubbing shine in circles,
and the slow, gradually growing possibility
that when you find such ears
they already know.

Naomi Shihab Nye
Words Under the Words: Selected Poems

the birds of desire

November 6, 2018

She was like a forest, like the dark interlacing of the oakwood, humming inaudibly with myriad unfolding buds. Meanwhile the birds of desire were asleep in the vast interlaced intricacy of her body.

D. H. Lawrence
Lady Chatterley’s Lover

It happens…

August 27, 2017


Diary 10th May

She said, ‘I love the sound of the birds in the morning. You really know it’s spring when you hear them singing.’

Yes, and I love the sound of the bells on a Sunday morning, and again on Thursday evening when they have ‘bell ringing’ practice up at the church. She hates the bells. In Austria we had a room situated close to the church, and on Sunday morning the bells filled the place with a very fine tintinnabulation. I thought it beautiful, but she heard only a carillon hullabaloo…a pandemonium creating headache!


Memories of my paternal grandmother. Her shrill voice raised in answer to a knock on the front door of her cottage: ‘An de bheoaibh no de mhairbh thu.’ Which roughly translates to: ‘Are you of the living or of the dead?’

Dear granny was so very fussy about who she allowed into her home. And can we blame her for that?

‘An marbh,’ the dead, my mocking reply. What else would you expect from a twelve year old, zit-infected scallion?

‘Peedeel…?’ On the doorstep imagining her old grey face creased in a smile…Or, perhaps, a grimace, was it? ‘Go n-ithe an cat thú is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat.’ Which in English approximates to: ‘May the cat eat you, and may the devil eat the cat…!’


There were stories within the family that granny, as a young woman, had a notoriously hospitable vulva. I don’t know about that. But I do know she loved the drink…


I’m sitting here quietly refining the art of creative idiosyncrasy. But does anyone care?