Tag Archives: Ireland

Titans

26 Jul

In my travels I have seen some incredible displays of war of barely just the previous generation. On one level they are lurid reminders of the sadness and tragedy (on all sides). When I asked around in these places (Vietnam, Lebanon, Dublin) why these pock marks on an otherwise pretty landscape have not been torn down or made into money-generating museums the people shared with me another side: they are reminders for peace. And my ah-ha moment came slowly, humbly.

I long for the day when I will visit Afghanistan and see the smiling faces of the people, sharing life around a table of mint tea and dolma.

The Holiday Inn, Beirut: Shot up after six weeks of being opening in 1975, adjacent to a modern high rise and now part of the background. Check out the holes along the right side.

The Gerneral Post Office, Dublin: the pillars bear the bullet marks from the Easter Rising, 1916

This poem compares these monsterous and beautiful monuments to titans: goddesses who were once beautiful but now are stone and ash, reminders of the battle.

Titans

“Over the past few years, the road to confrontation has shown its consequences: loss of innocent lives, destruction and fear. Most costly, however, was the loss of hope.” – King Abdullah II

She rose into the clouds
Towering over the city
Grey and scaled, each story
A rib of the underbelly.

Once welcoming onlookers
The handcrafted guarded goddess
Lulled the seascape with newness –
But that was some time ago.

She was silent: watching,
Waiting. Skin cracked, crumbling
Into pieces, her frame
Bearing wounds and ravaged

From whatever war it was.
There were no bodies left
Now, no blood, no stains but
Those great cenotaph scars.

This mother beast:
A Gorgon, turned to stone
And standing; a monument
Terrifying and alluring.

There are so many:
Beirut, Da Nang, Dublin.
Some are still, quiet;
Some alive and telling.

They protest the erosion
Of fated, forgetful minds
For whatever war it is.
For whoever lays down

Their lives and we pray:
Help us to look and see,
To hear and echo peace
Though we lie in pieces.

 

The Irish

17 Mar

This time last year we went to Dublin for a gorgeous weekend full of colour, adventure and Guinness. The people were friendly and spirited about their history of struggle, the landscape a mix of urban and romantic, the beer delicious (I don’t even like beer).

Of course, you will be familiar with the leprechaun and rainbow icons of Ireland so our journey there was only made complete when we actually did see a rainbow! We walked along the River Liffey flowing through the heart of Dublin and it was so perfectly still (below). And as we watched a team of rowers came through shaking up the picture-perfect river and it never re-settled while we were there. Beautiful in a different way!

I would recommend a weekend here but take some extra euros because it is pricey! If you have handled Irish currency you will also note the reference to the harp, the symbol for Ireland.

The Irish

In Ireland, I saw a rainbow over Lower Abbey Street.

It was white and green and orange and yellow

And blue and red. There was the peaceful white band waving

In the wind: the symbol of a people united by their heritage.

 

Green filled shop windows with trinkets and keepsakes

And lucky charms; bright eyed children with freckled

Shining faces held the hands of happy moms as their

Orange tresses flapped about their plump faces.

 

Yellow and blue double decker buses lined roads parallel

To the still mirror of the River Liffey though disrupted

By rowers and shook with ripples of glittering fragments

Of houses and bridge underbellies for three days.

 

I heard strangers speak heart on sleeve of their survival,

Pride and humility of uprisings and defeats. Even as I walked

The jail cell rows of Kilmainham Gaol once stained in red

Is now the make-up of their fight for identity.

 

The sky is an accolade of rain and shine to my unblinking eyes.

And as I walk hand in hand down cobbled streets with my English love,

I am certain I can hear the sound of harp strings echoing

From somewhere over that rainbow.