A Cruel Mistress [Updated]



The sea.

She be.

Emily writes;

“The crossing to Achill Beg [County Mayo] yesterday – the premiere reading of new 1000 line poem about the island had to be cancelled….”

UPDATE: It WASN’t cancelled…

Padaer MacGiolla writes:

“Against all the odds, reading went ahead. Sixteen had gathered, through an ever increasing storm, landing wet on Achillbeg and trundling against the wind to Jim’s house. Space was as inviting as I had hoped for, warm and white. The Reek in the windows with a tempestuous sea in between. Tea, cake, wine, hot whiskey, poetry. All over by 8pm and then the journey back, with the south east storm this time, but wind even fiercer than in the afternoon. It became an event that anyone who was there will never forget.

(Jim O’ Callaghan)

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23 thoughts on “A Cruel Mistress [Updated]

  1. Spaghetti Hoop

    Oh my. Forget about the floods, fallen trees and 6k homes without power….a poetry reading was CANCELLED!!

        1. Langer

          Most likely drowned in a desperate bid to escape…..On the other hand if you lived there then there’d probably be plenty time to write 1000 liner poems….

    1. 3stella

      I bet, our new minister for the Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht was really really really disappointed…

  2. paulyq

    Actually Emily the reading of “”An Elegy for Homo Sapiens” went ahead – though with a diminished audience.

    16 brave souls made the crossing, and were quite relieved to get off the island afterward. One stayed on for the night too.

    I hear the storm outside added good atmosphere to the reading.

  3. Emily

    PaulyQ – Was updating the editor LITERALLY as you wrote this – There was also TAY and hot whiskey.
    “It became an event that anyone who was there will never forget”
    sez Peadar MacGiolla

  4. macgiolla@hotmail.com

    An Elegy for Homo sapiens, in 16 cantos, by Peter Gill, performed at Achillbeg, 5th October, 2014
    (Showing themes, two first and two last lines, and numbers of additional lines in each canto)
    Musical interludes performed by Mr Enda Byrt, esquire, Ennistymon
    “The Swallow’s Tail”
    Canto I – A Tree
    Imagine a tree, standing tall,
    But struggling bravely…
    + 55 lines: Wherein sparrows are aided by a tree to attain their own Jimmy’s Hall
    …Best not to mess with us,
    We still have the nuclear option.
    Canto II – A Rogue
    Imagine a Rogue Wave, astride the blue ocean, a curious thing.
    Waves are gregarious, always hanging out together, intermingling…
    + 139 lines: Wherein anecdotes on rogue waves and the theory of their formation are outlined
    …Owing to multifarious power-transfers being seeded
    By small noise perturbations, in Rogue’s many small gametes.
    Canto III – A Twitcher
    Imagine a Twitcher, a bird-wathcer,
    With a bicycle, an English gentleman…
    + 20 lines: Wherein a birdwatcher is described and the “science” of observing and counting is explicated
    …Do the business and eliminate doubt.
    Twitter the picture – twitcher and tweet.
    Canto IV – Gallinago gallinago
    Imagine gallinago gallinago – the common snipe
    First cousin of a Great Snipe shot on Achill…
    + 43 lines: Wherein the life of snipe, and their hunting and distribution is described
    … While establishing scientific truth by falsification.
    No bird seen, no bird observed, there is no bird!
    Canto V – A Dog
    Imagine a cross-bred bitch –
    A fluffy, cuddly, black and white thing…
    + 95 lines: Wherein a young bitch destined to be a sheep-worrier elides into an actor in process of evolution
    …And the unknown unknown, as they fill in their log,
    Is that thanks should be given to Älska the Dog.
    Canto VI – Atmospheric Pressure
    Imagine Highs and Lows we all have them
    We are all a little bit bipolar – as is the atmosphere…
    + 41 lines: Wherein the vectors of global weather systems are commented on
    …And their progeny are those convective currents,
    That ripple lakes and mold those murderous seas.
    Canto VII – A Tornado
    Imagine a family of tornadoes
    High on the enhanced Fujita scale…
    + 17 lines: Wherein an example of a devastating tornado is related
    …No Sullenberger he, just a sailor
    Doing his job in nineteen hundred and three.
    Canto VIII – A Tsunami
    Imagine a Tsunami
    Now Rogue has a rival…
    + 46 lines: Wherein the creation of and devastation caused by a tsunami is recounted
    …Quite unlike Rogue, who has been and is often seen as a chimera
    Of drunken sailors’ and maritime tale-tellers’ imaginations gone ga-ga.
    “Trasna na dTonnta”

    “The March of the King of Laois”
    Canto IX – Rogues do exist
    Imagine a rogue as the lord of the swell
    Flatly dancing to rise to the big occasion…
    + 125 lines: Wherein verified encounters with rogue waves, including Ernest Shackelton’s, are described
    …And well they might have grasped at glory,
    And grown bigger in the bigness of the whole.
    Canto X – An Engineer
    Imagine a maker of dams – Nobuo Shuto –
    He had noted that Fudai was left standing…
    + 45 lines: Wherein the futility of trying to “wall-out” the ocean is proposed
    …And they didn’t run because they thought Nobuo Shuto’s seawall
    Would protect them from being killed.
    Canto XI – A Canada Goose
    Imagine a goose – a Canada goose, Branta canadensis
    With its black head and neck, blotched white face and body grey- brownish…
    + 40 lines: Wherein Jihadic tendencies among flocks of Canada geese are hinted at
    …The fools, the fools! Let this be said -They have left us our Branta dead,
    And while geese hold these memories, the skies unfree shall never be at peace.
    Canto XII – The Man
    Imagine one man, flying an Airbus A-three-twenty
    Two thousand and nine, January fifteen…
    + 61 lines: Wherein one good man makes a big withdrawal from his bank of experience
    …So he said to the goose, in human talk, with a tear and a little pain,
    Let’s agree to differ Goose, I saved the people, you got the plane.
    Canto XIII – A Little Woman
    Imagine a little woman,
    Spent her life observing sweet corn…
    + 50 lines: Wherein the beauty of the focused scientist is made manifest in her results
    …A new horizon for e coli was revealed – anything was possible in her mind’s eye
    And the world of transposable elements moved from maize to E. coli.
    Canto XIV – A ‘Mister’
    Imagine a Mister, not a doctor, not a physician,
    A mechanic of hearts, a setter of bones…
    + 38 lines: Wherein the deviant sex-life of a homosexual surgeon is laid bare
    …A Black tie fuck for the surgeon – always condoms – always careful – always discrete
    No better way to celebrate that unique two-thousand-fourteen Annual Scientific Meet.
    Canto XV – Clostridium difficile
    Imagine an MDRO
    A multi-drug resistant jumping gene organism…
    + 50 lines: Wherein the challenge of mutating bacteria is recognised
    …Here, here, Madame Speaker – they declared –
    As another sapiens slipped away to meet her maker.
    Canto XVI – An Sean Bhean Bhocht
    Imagine a gentle old woman
    Once strong of body and mind…
    + 77 lines: Wherein the tune “tabhair dom do lámh” might make sense
    …Chirp, trill, tweet, tweet, which in Sparrow means –
    Nothing, is as it seems.
    “Tabhair dom do Lámh”

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