Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

September 19, 2017

Spraying the potatoes.

by Patrick Kavanagh

 

The barrels of blue potato-spray
Stood on a headland in July
Beside an orchard wall where roses
Were young girls hanging from the sky.

The flocks of green potato stalks
Were blossom spread for sudden flight,
The Kerr’s Pinks in frivelled blue,
The Arran Banners wearing white.

And over that potato-field
A lazy veil of woven sun,
Dandelions growing on headlands, showing
Their unloved hearts to everyone.

And I was there with a knapsack sprayer
On the barrel’s edge poised. A wasp was floating
Dead on a sunken briar leaf
Over a copper-poisoned ocean.

The axle-roll of a rut-locked cart
Broke the burnt stick of noon in two.
An old man came through a cornfield
Remembering his youth and some Ruth he knew.

He turned my way. ‘God further the work’.
He echoed an ancient farming prayer.
I thanked him. He eyed the potato drills.
He said: ‘You are bound to have good ones there’.

We talked and our talk was a theme of kings,
A theme for strings. He hunkered down
In the shade of the orchard wall. O roses
The old man dies in the young girl’s frown.

And poet lost to potato-fields,
Remembering the lime and copper smell
Of the spraying barrels he is not lost
Or till blossomed stalks cannot weave a spell.

 

 

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TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

September 5, 2017

Another September

by Thomas Kinsella

 

Dreams fled away, this country bedroom, raw
With the touch of dawn, wrapped in a minor peace,
Hears through an open window the garden draw
Long pitch black breaths , lay bear its apple trees,
Ripe pear trees, brambles, windfall-sweethened soil,
Exhale rough sweetness against the starry slates.
Nearer the river sleeps St.Johns, all toil
Locked fast inside a dream with iron gates.
Domestic autumn, like an animal
Long used to handling by those countrymen,
Rubs her kind hide against the bedroom wall
Sensing a fragrant child come back again
– Not this half tolerated consciousness
That plants its grammar in her unyielding weather
But that unspeaking daughter, growing less
familiar where we fell asleep together.
Wakeful moth-wings blunder near a chair
Toss their light shell at the glass and go
To inhabit the living starlight,Stranded hair
Stirs on the still linen. It is as though
The black breathing that billows her sleep, her name,
Drugged under judgement, waned and – bearing daggers
And balances – down the lampless darkness they came,
Moving like women: Justice, Truth, such figures.

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

August 29, 2017

 

 

Rhythm Of Life.

by Eileen Carney Hulme

 

The clock is silent
nowadays clocks no longer
need to make
that rhythmic sound of life.

We have moved on
and everything is changed
I am no longer sad
I don’t weep for you.

In still moments
I see you solitary, reflective-
running with the wind along the waterfront
with your Walkman on.

Radiowaves carry words
of a song we shared
and I am free to smile
at the thought of you.

Big and handsome
the scent of you
like a powerful beast lingers
untamed by this world.

I know you still swim with dolphins
in the cold North Sea
I know you still laugh
and drink wine with friends.

I know you live by the seasons
and time is not your enemy,
the clock is silent
I don’t weep for you, I weep for me.

HOW TO STAY HOPEFUL AND RESILIENT THROUGH ADVERSITY.

August 24, 2017

By  Joe Wilner

 

Everyone has the ability to bounce back from upset and become a stronger person because of it.

When focusing on strengths and positive traits, hope and resilience stand out as very advantageous and fruitful characteristics to uphold mental health and begin to flourish.

A mentor of mine often asks his coaching clients if they have, “turned the coal of the past into the diamonds of present?” I love this saying because it provides such a hopeful and resilient perspective on life.

Everyone goes through difficult times and has baggage to deal with. Though it’s what we do and how we respond during these crucial moments that matter.

Are you able to experience hope and optimism when going through adversity?

Here are a few ideas about how to manage adversity with hope and resilience.

Know you will become stronger because of it. Focus on the value and character strength you will develop from overcoming your obstacles. Think of all the difficult spots you have found yourself in before and how you were able to work through them. How much stronger and wiser are you because of these moments?

If you made it through those times, you can probably make it though almost anything. Adversity develops character and the capacity for compassion, empathy, and courage.

Find something to be grateful for and appreciate what you have. Focusing on what’s good in life through difficult times can be another source of resilience. Pulling positivity from gratitude and appreciation for what we still have offers a perspective shift that makes even the most depressing times more manageable.

You may have experienced a loss, but what can you find to be thankful for despite the pain? Maybe you have a supportive family, a decent job, or at least your health. Sometimes we must find something to be thankful for.

Have meaning and purpose in your life. Having faith and knowing there is a plan for the future is what hope is all about. Having a sense of meaning and purpose helps us to look forward to the future with anticipation. When going through a rough spot, not losing sight of your passion, vision, and purpose will give you much needed strength to persevere and maintain hope.

Are you living with purpose and intention?

When loss, anguish, and distress become overwhelming, all we have is our faith, hope, and resilience to move forward from. Whatever you are going through, staying hopeful that the future will get better and knowing you have the strength to persevere is what will help you make progress and not give up.

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

August 22, 2017

 

Who goes amid the green wood

By James Joyce

 

Who goes amid the green wood
With springtide all adorning her?
Who goes amid the merry green wood
To make it merrier?

Who passes in the sunlight
By ways that know the light footfall?
Who passes in the sweet sunlight
With mien so virginal?

The ways of all the woodland
Gleam with a soft and golden fire
For whom does all the sunny woodland
Carry so brave attire?

O, it is for my true love
The woods their rich apparel wear
O, it is for my own true love,
That is so young and fair.

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

July 25, 2017

Pit Stop By Neil McKenty

Time is ripe for a new political party in Quebec

Now that hunting season has begun, it behooves most Quebec politicians to head for the hills.

According to all the surveys, the popularity of the province’s politicians is dropping like a wounded duck. And this applies to both Ottawa and Quebec City.

A Léger poll shows the level of satisfaction with the federal Conservatives has dropped a full seven points. Only one in five Quebecers is happy with the political leadership in Ottawa.

The results were similarly dismal for the provincial Liberals. The level of dissatisfaction with Premier Jean Charest’s government is at a record-breaking 77 per cent, with only 28 per cent saying they would vote Liberal in the next provincial election. Support for the Parti Québécois stood at 34 per cent.

These figures must be seen in the context of a provincial scene where most of the news is negative. Whether it is the dirty linen on judge’s appointments being aired at the Bastarache commission, the ever-rising cost of health care, controversial language legislation or the government’s refusal to investigate the construction industry, there is not much for the ordinary voter to be happy about.

All this means that Charest, who must face an election within three years, is in dire straits politically. But the PQ leader, Pauline Marois, is right in there with him.

Let’s face it. Although Marois has been in public life for three decades, she has never really caught on, either with her own party or with the electorate generally. This could become more evident when she faces a leadership review next spring.

Unlike the Liberals who cherish their leaders so long as they are in power, the separatists seem to view their chieftans with considerable suspicion. As Don Macpherson writes in the Gazette: “Liberals are disciplined and remain loyal to a leader, especially when they are in power, until he loses an election. Péquistes, on the other hand, are impatient, nervous and suspicious of any leader not named Jacques Parizeau. Since they last held power in 2003, they’ve already had three leaders.”

What’s more, unlike the Charest Liberals, the PQ has a potential leader prowling around the precincts. That would be Gilles Duceppe, who is getting long in the tooth in federal politics. Duceppe threatened to run against Marois once before. This time, if she really stumbles, he might go through with it.

So what we have now in the province is a Liberal government that is dead in the water and a PQ opposition that is not exactly setting the heather afire. What better time to fly a trial balloon about a new party?

A group of former politicians (Péquistes François Legault and Joseph Facal) and business people think the time is ripe for a new party that would regroup federalists and sovereigntists around a centre-right agenda and leaving the “national question” aside.

A new poll shows that such a new party would win 30 per cent of the votes in a Quebec election, with the PQ at 27 per cent and the Liberals at 25 per cent. If nothing else, these results suggest there is a deep desire in the population to break through the federalist-separatist division to some third force that would concentrate on the economic and social well-being of Quebec.

Such a party would emphasize fiscal restraint and smaller government. But would the Quebec voter buy into such a program? Ironically, this is what Charest wanted to implement when he first took office eight years ago. Charest, a small-c conservative, hoped to cut back on Quebec’s bloated bureaucracy, reduce some services and cut taxes.

But Charest discovered to his chagrin that he could carry neither his cabinet nor his caucus on a program of serious fiscal restraint. The government was even afraid to raise the rates for electricity, something practically all economists urged them to do. Recently all it took was the prospect of a coming by-election for Finance Minister Raymond Bachand to shelve plans to impose user fees for medical visits.

So attractive as a new party might be, especially one that jettisoned the sovereignty question, it is not at all clear that it would be able to sell a policy of fiscal restraint, the very policy that Charest could not sell when he first came into office.

Furthermore, as Lysiane Gagnon has pointed out, the new Legault party looks much like the old Mario Dumont party. The Action démocratique du Quebec was also based on a centre-right agenda and a moderate nationalist approach (for most of its life it did not even take sides in the sovereignty debates). One difference is that Legault’s movement was born in Montreal and might eventually attract more high-profile personalties than the ADQ, whose scope was limited to eastern Quebec.

What this new party does right out of the gate is underline popular dissatisfaction with the two old parties. Another election is not required until 2013. That leaves plenty of time for the Liberals to replace Charest and for the PQ to do a makeover on Marois (or replace her with Duceppe.)

In the meantime, a group that has no leader and no name is more popular than the two other parties who have both. No wonder the politicians are heading for the hills.

Published on Nov.2010

The Senior Times

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

July 11, 2017

 

 

Tis The Last Rose Of Summer

 

‘Tis the last rose of summer,

Left blooming alone;

All her lovely companions

Are faded and gone;

No flower of her kindred,

No rose-bud is nigh,

To reflect back her blushes,

Or give sigh for sigh.

 

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one!

To pine on the stem;

Since the lovely are sleeping,

Go sleep thou with them.

Thus kindly I scatter

Thy leaves o’er the bed,

Why thy mates of the garden

Lie scentless and dead.

 

So soon may I follow,

When friendships decay,

And from love’s shining circle

The gems drop away.

When true heart lie wither’d,

And fond ones are flown,

Oh! who would inhabit

This bleak world alone?

 

 

By Thomas Moore.

Driving with your mate

July 6, 2017

Catharine writes :

While I was packing to go by car to Kingston, with my nephew, I couldn’t help remembering what Neil called his zaniest program.

Do you have any stories about a road trip ?

What do you do when your are stressed in your car ?

Are you a good co-driver ?

 

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

July 4, 2017

 

 

 

Catharine writes:

One third of Neil’s listeners were francophones. During that first referendum he kept everyone talking on his CJAD open-line show. He also interviewed Premier René Lévesque on the show more than once, with the last time being only a couple of week before Lévesque’s death.

A well-known Montreal lawyer later told me that without Neil’s efforts to keep people listening to each other there could have been violence on the streets of Montreal.

My question is: is there anyone out there in the United States in the midst of this divisive election keeping people listening to each other? The most divisive in US history. Is CNN doing that with its’ panels of commentators from both sides? My impression is they are trying hard – what do you think?

Got something you want to share on the blog e-mail me at: linesarestillblazing@gmail.com

To see all the videos of Neil’s TV show, visit the YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/MrJeanpl

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

June 27, 2017

The Senior Times

Pit Stop by Neil McKenty

Pope’s reaction to Williamson curious and disappointing

It is now clear that Catholic-Jewish relations have been seriously damaged by the Vatican’s lifting the excommunication of a schismatic bishop who is a Holocaust denier.

Vatican authorities claim Pope Benedict XVI was unaware of the anti-Semitic attacks that Bishop Richard Williamson has launched in the past. Is this claim credible? Williamson’s diatribes have been in the public domain for years. In 1989, for example, Canadian police considered filing charges against Williamson under Canada’s hate speech laws after he gave an address in Quebec charging that Jews were responsible for“changes and corruption” in the Catholic church, that“not one Jew”perished in Nazi gas chambers, and that the Holocaust was a myth created so that the West would “approve the State of Israel.”

Williamson also praised the writings of Ernst Zundel, the Germanborn Canadian immigrant whose works include Did Six Million Really Die? and The Hitler We Loved and Why, both considered mainstays of Holocaust denial literature.

A 2008 piece in England’s Catholic Herald documented Williamson’s anti-Semitic record and included a judgement from Shimon Samuels, director of international relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, to the effect that Williamson is “the Borat of the schismatic Catholic far-right.” Samuels also said at the time that Williamson is “a clown, but a dangerous clown.”

To be sure, the subjects of Williamson’s controversial views are not confined to Jews. He has also suggested that the 9/11 bombings were not the result of airplanes hijacked by terrorists but rather “demolition charges,” has criticized The Sound of Music for a lack of respect for authority and has expressed sympathy for what he described as the “remotely Catholic sense” of the Unabomber for the dangers of technology.

A number of strong voices have spoken to condemn Rome’s rehabilitation of Bishop Williamson and none more so than Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, who reminded the Pope that in her country denying the Holocaust is a crime. Several Jewish groups have suspended all dialogue with the Catholic Church and, by all accounts, the French bishops are furious. Recently the New York Times questioned why no U.S. or Canadian bishops had publicly deplored the Williamson scandal.

It is also curious that the moderate German Cardinal Walter Kasper was not consulted in this whole damaging affair. Cardinal Kasper is the head of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Jews.

Nevertheless, the Vatican moved swiftly to try to contain the widespread damage done by the Williamson affair. The Pope confirmed that he was looking forward to his visit to Israel this May. The Secretariat of State said that Bishop Williamson must retract his views unequivocally if he is ever to serve as a bishop in the Catholic Church. In the meantime Bishop Williamson has been dismissed from his post running a seminary in Argentina and the government there has expelled him from the country.

To make matters worse, the Pope named a new bishop in Austria whose well-known public utterances are as outrageous – he described Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans as divine punishment for homosexuality and abortion, and the Harry Potter books as Satanic – as Bishop Williamson’s are evil.

This appointment raised such a storm of opposition in the Austrian Church that the appointment has been rescinded. The irony here is that when a bishop is appointed the diocesan authorities submit three names for the Pope’s consideration. In the Austrian case the Pope rejected the three names and appointed another candidate so unpopular he had to withdraw.

There may well be a silver lining to the affair in Austria. If the Vatican backed down because of opposition at the local level, will this set a precedent for future Episcopal appointments. At the very least it would seem that Rome must take more seriously the views of the local church. In fact, this would be in the spirit of Vatican 11, which urged a more collegial governance for the Church.

Both the fracas over Bishop Williamson and the aborted appointment in Austria beg the question of whether the universal Catholic Church can be competently led by a small group of male celibates isolated in Rome. It is a question that requires an urgent answer.

Originally published in March 2009

Jean P.