Saturday, 31 March 2012


(oil pastel on paper)

I've been thinking about Poseidon.
Fierce god of all water.

Eaten by Cronus.

Eaten by his father, along with his siblings.

Only the mighty power of Zeus forcing Cronus to spit the infants back up.

All that pent up fury, turned into force. Force of water. Force of thrust. Unruly. Passionate. Fierce.

There is a place for fierce rage in the depths.

Thursday, 29 March 2012


Talking. Through wires. Through space. Through satellites. Using words to aproximate meaning. Making meanings with words.

Imagine communicating with NO words. No phone talk. Crossing spaces - how? Bridging the space between people in their separate lives - with what?

Hermes ~ god of communication and connection.

Mercury ~ god of connection.

A small altar where we can lay our broken communication(s) - the iphone with the shattered screen, the person with the shattered heart. Come Hermes. Come Mercury. Take these broken things and heal. Communicate with us. So we can find connection.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Where did this camel arrive from? And how is it mine?


At the top of the grassy rise, some buildings, and beyond them, highland wilderness. The village (easy, familiar, mellow) is far behind.
I lead the camel carefully, afraid of this big beast, but it walks beside me readily enough. When I tug gently, it moves forward. I know I have to bringthe camel, and keep it in line.
An old friend is somewhere out in the wilderness, unreachable. Sitting in a car and waiting for us to arrive. I ask these riders on horses, in their smart hats and jaunty shirts, to help us find the way, but to no avail. They're from the village, not the lost place.
The camel wanders off as I talk, settles down over there, beside the fence, with some picnickers. It sits like a dog looking for scraps. I make my way over, scared to take its head, (those teeth!) but again, it comes easily enough. The camel and all it's burdens won't be left behind so easily.
The children are looking to me to lead the way. I pretend I know where we're headed. A dog yaps at my heels in the grass.
I wonder: Am I condemned to wander this barren, beautiful space, keeping the camel and its burdens in line? Searching for a lost connection and a lost path?
Or is there another truth?

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Redwood Bark

The space just below the breastbone;
A place to hold those unshed tears.
Tears for the gaps, the too big spaces,
Tears for the needs that pass, unmet,
Gathering in a salty vault,
Just behind the sternum;
A hard salty crust forming,
Adding a razor sharp edge.

Imagine this dark vault;
Inside it a dark pool;
A pool of salt tears,
A bottomless pool,
A black hole of salt,
And water,
Black hole,
Salt crusted rim;

Tiptoe to the edge.
Peer into the depths.
Into the depths.
Don't think,
Just plunge
Into the bottomless
Salty depths.

Salt water in your mouth,
Salt water in your ears,
Blackness in all directions.
Until there's
No direction,
No direction,
All directions.

Dissolving in
Black salt water
Dissolving in
Endless depth
Nothing to hold (onto)
Nothing to reach (for)
Just water

Salt water cradling.
Salt water holding.
A cell. Two. Four.
Eight and sixteen.

Back at the start.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

And As I Awoke

(oil pastel, soft pastel and triplus fineliner on paper)

And as I awoke, I came to this place....

Friday, 23 March 2012

What is This Day For?

(soft pastel on paper)

And what is this day for?

It's for us to live in.

And WHY is this day?

So we can learn to be happy.

And how do we do that?

We live in our days. We

LIVE in our days, alive in our

Moments. We take each one

As it comes. When we

Feel we can fly, we

FEEL we can fly; when we

Land on our backs, we

Experience the landing. And

In-between, we can

walk through our days, and

Learn to be happy.

Happy in each moment.

Happy in the air.

Happy on the ground.

Happy in our days.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Here Be Monsters!!!

First Baby ~ Girl

Two decades and two years have passed since you came, slowly and laboriously arriving, not sure if you were ready for this world.

You arrived reluctantly, taking your time. And trailing high drama
in your wake! So that as you quietly gazed at your father in the corner of the delivery room, eight doctors and nurses ran to staunch the river of red that followed your birth.

From the moment you first set eyes on each other, you, and my mother, a special bond was born. In you, she found something she'd been searching for. And you in her.

Twenty two years later. The world still holds you both. Special bond intact. And you, radiating all that is special. First baby. Girl.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Test of Time

Stones that have stood for a
Thousand years or more.
Thrown up by vocanic activity
Four hundred million
Years ago. These things,
Standing the test of time.

Concealed in Pink and Blue

(oil pastel on paper)

Monday, 19 March 2012

All days

(watercolour pencil and Staedler triplus fineliner)

Radiating from now,
Here is THIS day,
Stretching out lazily before me;
And here, all around me, all days.

Not set in a neat line, future to past,
No. HERE are all days,
Starting from me,
And radiating to infinity.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Glendalough Magic

Such a beautiful day.

Sunshine from first light.

March warmth. Such beauty.

Beautiful lake. Beautiful trees.

Warm home. Safe home.

All safe. Mother's Day.


(oil pastel on paper

Saturday, 17 March 2012


(acrylic on paper)

I've always dreamed vividly. Some dreams recurr again and again. Others are so vivid, I will never forget them. Each carries its own messages for me, from who knows where?


I'm in the river again. Its a big, wide river, and I don't know where I'm going, but I'm swimming in the river, not just being pulled along by its flow. The flow is moving me, for sure, but I have power to move this way, or that, within the flow. I'm calm. The water is clean and fresh. I've been here before, except not in THIS particular stretch of water moving in THIS particular way. I feel exhilarated, as I draw nearer to the source. As I swim, I feel powerful, connected to something more powerful than just me; not just my own strength, but the strength of all things holds me up on my journey.

Motorbike in the dark

I can see nothing. Total blackness. Not a chink or a hint of light. No grey. No shadow. Just an absoluteness of black. And me, hurtling through the dark on a motorbikr at full throttle. Hands gripping handlebars I can't see. Unseen feet. We're moving at great speed, this motorbike and I, and I'm terrified. Terror consumes me. It is utter and absolute. I can't stop the bike. I have no idea what is around in the blackness, and any second, I may hit SOMETHING, there could be ANYTHING, am I even on a road? Terror beyond words, and expecting annihalation each moment.


In my dreams, I know how to fly. I pull gently at the air, and I'm lifted, slowly at first, inches, feet, then high into the sky. I traverse huge distances, looking down at the landscapes I'm passing over. Buildings. People. A bridge over an estuary. I've a long way to go, and dusk is falling. It feels sad, somehow, and yet fitting, to be alone, up here in the sky, as night falls. Lights come on below me. I feel connected to the world below, yet also separate from it. I'm not a bird, I'm me, and the distance I still have to travel seems too much, too hard. But I pull myself forward into the night sky, leaving the lights behind me.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Secret Public Places

(Iveagh Gardens)

Beautiful city merging the old and the new, buildings of steel and glass nestled in behind old trees. Quiet space in the city. Secret public places. Places that are empty at 3pm on a Thursday afternoon. Just a minute or two from Grafton Street, from Stephen's Green, from bustling capital city. Not hidden, just passed by. By passed. Secret public places.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Nightfall in the mountains

Mid march and the spring equinox only a week away.

One quarter of another year nearly gone.

Memory plays tricks. Brings into sharp relief nightfalls from forty years ago.

A grassy field in front of a big granite house. Children standing in a circle around a flagpole. The end of a hot august day. The words of the song ringing out across the empty fields in the dusk, as the red and white flag is run down the flagpole and carefully folded. Soft grey uniform Marching in line back to the wooden barracks, as the last rays of daylight disappear.

Remembering summers of my spring days as I approach the spring of my summer days.

Monday, 12 March 2012


Wake up and TASTE the melancholy.
You've been here before. You know
The texture, the warp and the weft,
You know it exactly.

The place in your chest that aches,
And is unfilled, you know the dry
Taste in the back of your mouth,
Pretending good cheer.

Not even tears. Not for these timed.
Quiet and internal. Quiet and deep.
No floating places. No happy ever after. Just this place again.

And too much space.
And too much distance.
And too much lone.
Lone melanchol.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

To Care For

(oil pastel sketch on paper)

Even the smallest child has the urge to care for small and helpless things.
A hand cups a small head - just so. Arms hold tight - just so. A cheek rests gently on top of a head.

Maybe we do this because we know its what is needed. We know instinctively how to hold small, helpless things.

So, now. This helpless feeling arrives, leaving me stranded. Let the helplessness be. Let it draw out of me the small child, the one that knows instinctively how to care for small helpless things.

Imagine it as a two note melody, a harmony. Cup my own head - just so. Wrap myself in my own arms - just so. Give way to helplessness, and find the helper. Vulnerability. And strength.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Birthing the Mother

The enormity of the transition. Sitting in a hospital bed, realising it was MY responsibility to keep this little scrap of life alive. If I failed, or neglected it, or walked away, she died.

Phoning friends and realising the great gulf that now existed between us.

Feeling inadequate and useless around so many of the things I had to do, things I thought would come naturally. Tiredness, like a physical wall.

The desperate feelings when she started to cry, just as sleep arrived. Despair, anger, fear, guilt.

Looking into her eyes through the perspex wall of the hospital crib. Her eyes staring unblinking into mine. Hers now forever.

I don't even know how to pick her up, or hold her properly. I know how to hum a tune, which I do over and over as I hold her and walk when we get home. This is a time of getting used to one another, getting used to her presence in my house. Getting used to the carrycot and pram. Getting used to tiny vests and socks and hats. Getting used to the kindness of stramgers peering into the pram. Getting used to no sleep. Getting used to tiny bodily realities; meconium; umbilical stump; tiny fingernails that need cutting. The things that represent this new "taking care of" you have to start doing as a parent now for the rest of your life.

The pride. No one told me I would feel more pride at the random compliments of strangers than at any of my own achievents.

The fierce "she's mine!" feeling.

The endless stream of unasked for advice.

Little tiny hands. Little tiny feet. Ears, nose, eyes, mouth. Alert. Looking at me, always looking at me. Eye to eye. Heart to heart.

Trying to figure out what she needs, getting it wrong, getting it right, feelimg guilty, feeling happy, feeling sad, feeling tied down, feeling alone.

When she got ill, feeling desperate, desperate, I'd do anything, sell my soul, anything to make her better.

Such a roller coaster. So different to the fairy tale we are sold of having a baby. So engulfing. So consuming.

When you hold her for the first time, you become a mother. Nothing and everything in your life has prepared you for this.

I Have All That I Need

(photo taken at Glendalough at 8.30 on a cold crisp Sunday morning)

This morning, I added a new item to my "changing the script" page.

"I have all that I need".

So much of my worry, sadness, annoyance and general upset arises from thoughts about the things I need that I'm not getting. All sorts of things. And from all sorts of people and organisations.

I can get myself into a loop of negative thought and feeling, and it all ends up in fear, and feelings of helplessness and abandonment - not very empowering.

And as I reflected on it, I discovered (again! I can be very slow with these things!) that "here", in this moment, I have all that I need. Here, in the present moment, there is nothing I need that is not here. All is well. All is well.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Change the Script

Today, I challenge myself to change the script of my life.

The new script is summed up in the phrases below.

It takes time to make changes. But unless we change the script, we just keep repeating the same old dysfunctional patterns of behaviour.

For today, Monday, my top new script item is "whatever I do, I do fully withour rushing".

Saturday, 3 March 2012

In her nature

Here's the dog, doing what her nature tells her to do, jumping in the lake again and again. It's in her nature. It's what she was made for.

And is this what I'm made for? Another Saturday of work that's necessary, but doesn't make me feel alive? Carrying my tension and frustration through the day, letting it spill out on those around me?

Now, as evening draws near, a little space and time for reflection. Lets imagine indulging my nature.... What would I do? Birdsong. Nature. Some time with me. Companionship and connection. Finding a tribe. A place of belonging. Sinking into "home". Quiet and peace. Simple.

So why, as apparently the most evolved species on the planet, do we work so hard against our natures? Why do we create such incredibly complicated lives? This evening I yearn for simple. Simple and safe.

Friday, 2 March 2012


Walking through this life
learning to live fully
even if need remains.
Finding a world full of meaning.


(soft pastel sketch)