Grey Matter

Grey Matter

For what it’s worth,
I can’t think of anything more vibrant,
More techni-coloured, spirit-soaring, smile-inducing and bright, than
Freeing yourself from the box-room cosy complex
That nothing you do will ever amount to anything.

Because it’s the easiest thing in the world
To do nothing.
It’s the easiest thing in the world
To let the greyness win.
Surrendering. Submitting.
Settling for a semi-faded filter,
When all your life your soul chose bold.

Deserving something, should not be a question.
Looking to others for an answer, losing ourselves to find
A pre-determined one?
You have the answer already.
The greyness comes along to fool you.
Fight it. Go and do the thing
You have convinced yourself nobody will notice.
Because you’re right –
Nobody will notice.
The mental struggle it takes –
To put on socks.
The wide-eyed forehead-creasing terror
Of answering the phone

…and gradually, you smile.
Connection. Communication.
That’s what kills the greyness.
The belief that despite your reservations
And pale skin
And ginger hair
And natural disposition to think it doesn’t matter anyway
 – The colours do suit you after all.

Hati Hati.

It’s funny.
There’s a sliver of glass wedged in the ball of my foot,
But that’s not why I’m upset.
Physical restrictions have rarely prevented me from moving forwards.
Touching wood, I steady my gaze.
I wipe the windows to my world, the glass that is nowadays so easily shattered.
Even paradise has its monsoon, and today has been dense.

A mother calls out to her son over the squawking, cooing, twittering and ticking sounds of this Indonesian afternoon,
The French words as alien to me as banana leaves and outdoor showers.
A weekend of waning energy, one 6am sunrise from missing it entirely.
A break. A rest.
A language barrier higher than the volcano summitted just last week.

“Hati-hati” – Watch your heart.

All in good time.

Baile Átha Cliath

A middle aged woman shamelessly pouts for a selfie
 As she sits alone outside Butler’s;
 A fleeting insight into the Dublin of today,
 Broken buskers saluting wealthy suits and the hurried.

The invisible homeless.
 The ghosts who wander into coffee shops, where they’re sure they lost a euro,
 while college students scrounge to buy a pint for 6.
 A winding path where the people flow like veins
 Pulsing through the streets that never change.

It is the people who keep the city.
 The people, the flow;
 The unreliable bus service disrupting scheduled meals,
 Low blood sugars fueling angry drivers, and
 A haste to get everywhere before the next shower bursts.

The infectious desire to travel,
 As tourists stare in awe at doors you’ve never noticed before,
 Experiencing your city as a pin on a map
 -Where you’ve never pinned it at all.

Rooftops between the canal and the river;
 A refuge from the Georgian mansions that remain
 Stubborn in their depth, reluctant to relate to the redbrick-terraced hipsters
 That craftily have cycled their way to the forefront of the ‘culture’.

You jaywalk; a term on erasmus from America as we try it out across O’Connell bridge,
 The space between the Heineken building and the island in the middle a no-man’s land as you feel you’re
 Traversing the centre of Ireland.

The centre of my world;
 For up until today it is all I have known.
 A metal spike with no function seeing all
 While you see yourself in it’s base, longing in vain to catch a glimpse from the top,
 To be privy to a view it has been constructed to prevent.

All too soon I will be gone;
 Shunning the gloom of Winter in Dublin,
 Missing only the familiar; I will acclimatize again.
 To write, to learn, to build understanding –
 To glean from another city the self this one has given me.

“Sean – ‘Nótions'”

Sceolán na mara
Ag léimt ar bhád
Ag glacadh na saoirse
Atá uainn ar fad

Ní suaimhneach nó stuamach,
Cuimhnítear a fhréamh,
An t-aer uilig lachtach,
Le focail nár thréig

Le teanga is tonnta,
Mór-thimpeall is tríd,
An t-aistear is faide,
Dá bfheicfid ariamh,

Céad bliain ar aghaidh
Is cuid eile le teacht
An sceolán a lean
Boladh beatha amach

Thar ‘oceans’, thar sáile,
‘Nós na nglúinte sin romhainn,
Ach ‘notions’ mar chúis leis,
An dúil faoi lánseol.

An dúchas níos dlúithe
Nuair nach mbrúitear é,
An nádúr i dtaisce,
Á chosaint ón gcé

Nach linne an t-uisce?
Nach linne an lae?
Cé eile a scaipfidh
An teanga, an scéal

Ná sceolán ar sheachran
Ar thalamh nár sheas
A leithéid ariamh ar
-ní bheidh sé ar ais.

‘My Super Sweet’ 1916

“My Super Sweet 1916”

A game of ‘who doth dare
To step upon streets guns have hounded,
Never have I felt
More isolated yet surrounded.

Language. Country. My own self;
It all froze on the line.
Irish girl in Ho Chi Minh’;
A headline of our Times;

Drawing stares and looks as pale skin
Took aback a driver,
Walking out, her independence
Bursting from inside her.

An extra vehicle with feet
And legs instead of wheels,
We steered away and took our land
Through crossfires and fields

From those who didn’t understand;
Confused, misheard inflections,
A language provides insight,
Understanding, and connection.

It’s within all our chemistry;
To share and seek direction,
But whatever way you look at it;
No leader sells perfection.

Without precursors, bloodtests, or a
Steady flow of income,
The land we sought, remained the same
Held us, as we held ransom.

But a bullet’s only bloody
if it reaches where it’s aimed,
And Sunday may be sunny still
if we just played the game,

Click’ and ‘click’, those fifty years
Passed by in echoed rounds,
Another decade, maybe five,
Made heroes of the hounds

A template for the ‘work-from-home
Convenience of now,
Potential seen as fact and not
The questionable ‘how’?

Determined as the vehicles
That race East Asian roads,
Our little country rebuilt what
A constant fear erodes.

Rationing what few reserves
Remained; ‘ár lá, ár saoirse’,
As hope became a daily bread
We preserved faith and reason

Grand old Dukes and Earls and Leaders
Marched their men to fight,
While clerks and tailors crossed-out tactics
Threefold overnight;

A world within a paling land,
A word replaced- a meaning;
Names of those we lost are still
Proclaimed on banners streaming.

One hundred years,
One hundred anniversaries of might;
One hundred times,
One might have bowed to gold way out of sight,

And as for me, I’m just relieved,
I’ve reached the other side;
My language and my country
Safe, to spread further our pride.

A Few Thoughts..

Today I taught children how to lay still.
To focus on their breath.
To listen.
To sit with the twitching toes and knocking knees of mis-directed energy.

While I sat at the head of the class,
Mouth forming words I now possess like my curls;
Naturally, instinctively, intuitively,
Yet my brain wandered ever forwards, escaping the moment I presented to them.
The moment they are always seeking – to be older, to be taller, to grow up,
Came to pass even as they stretched overhead,
Token gigglers in the class silenced by a sudden enjoyment of what IS.

It doesn’t have to be enjoyment.
It doesn’t have to always be great.
Because life is not always great.
With awareness……..

It all becomes relevant.

To create, is not to conjure a thing from nothing.
‘Nothing will come of nothing’ – and nothing ever did.
We can only seek understanding through what is already here.
It is to link, to compare, contrast, and NOTICE the similarities and differences of what is around us. To acknowledge our own ignorance.
To sit.
To listen.
To be.
Within all that is happening around us, as a result of all that was, and to use those experiences, those physical, mental, spiritual, linguistic, tangible and untangible objects to form a new reality
– the reality of which will only ever last a second.

I Didn’t Get A Picture of the Sea Today…

I didn’t get a picture of the sea today,
The late Autumn afternoon sun
Glistening on the ridges of the jetstream

 Reluctant to commit any more lines to memory,
Just in case they’d escape me at the source of a pen.

 I didn’t get a picture of the sea today,
You’ll just have to take my word,
That the child who’s footprints I followed

Around the rocks as they chased a small dog
Saw the sun higher in the sky than I ever remember it.

 I didn’t get a picture of the sea today,
The tenants of thoughts in my head
Refusing to set a timer on the tide of nature’s madness

Finding balance in knowing herself,
Listening to her own ebb and flow and accepting depletion.

 I didn’t get a picture of the sea today,
My strength now contesting that of it’s depth,
A lesson in the way things are and haven’t always been

Meeting the lack of sense with a stubborn persistence
That takes sailors and travellers alike from A to Z.

 I didn’t take a picture of the sea today,
For I have taken enough in my time,
Used and abused the kindest of hands and offers of affection

 My duty now being to give and provide;
Return what’s been lost and salvage what never was let be.