Flora

Foot bruised by an accident of enthusiasm

I can sit on the salvaged Parker Knoll recliner

pondering in splendid regality.

Spider Queen surveying her domain

of seven growing decades

Through wide opened double doors

On the hottest day of herstory

~

Up close (and so personal)

A bee fusses the scented pelargonium

on Dad’s old hand built coffee table

Marquetry stained by decades

of over enthusiastic watering

A fly dies in the cobwebbed corner

~

Foreground of swaying

frothy alchemilla mollis

Mum’s favourite coloniser of stone patios

and steps, perfect foil for sweet

Pastel pink blowsy Summer Wedding

rose blooms, stark against darker shadow

Memories of those North facing gardens

~

Backdrop of top heavy sycamore crowns

Rustling with seed jewels

Harbouring raucous caws of picus picus

Five for silver or six for gold

Most likely seven for those family secrets

Never been told

~

In the midfield young rowans

reach adolescent feathered arms

Up to the light. Early years stunted

by the North wind

Now finding strong footholds

Deep in the Donegal granite.

~~~

Heatwave

Heatwave

~

a Sunday in July, midday in a heatwave

‘caravan beach’ fills with campers and tents

~

sultry as summer in the south of France

Donegal unused to this weather

~

pull down black blinds to the South

open all windows North

~

dogs pant on the slate floor in the hall

fill water bowls almost hourly

~

solar panels reach maximum

fill a bath for watering later

~

so glad of the breeze from the sea

lifting the heavy geranium heads

~

swifts on the red endangered list

guillemots declining steeply

~

neighbour’s wayward cat has returned

the Times warns of two thousand extra deaths

~~~

I’m Here! CillRialaig Artists Retreat

And this is my fabulous view!

It’s incredibly remote, wild, wet and windy. But I am cosy in my cottage studio with a roaring fire in the stove and mugs of tea constantly on the go.

There are lovely friendly artists staying in the other cottages, so far I’ve made two new friends.

I will post some images of work in progress once I get properly started. Lots of painting ideas and maybe a few poems to write too.

Old Goose

So excited to be heading down to CillRialaig (County Kerry retreat centre) again tomorrow! A long train journey, and an overnight in Killarney on the way

Old Goose

Standing at the open window

Of the train rushing through new terrain

Listening to the rhythmic pounding

Of the wheels on the shiny rails

~

Yes, I will, I do, I can

I see, I make, with love

Yes, I choose, I go, I try

To fly. I make a leap

~

Choosing the forward momentum

Denying the steel bars

In that cold and hungry

Prison cell of fear

~

No, to halting fearful saying

You’ve had your fill. It’s too late

No, to thinking it can’t work out

You’re too old, just be still

~

Even the old goose still makes

The journey South

She doesn’t wait

To grace your Christmas plate

~~~

Weather

This is the Atlantic! Well just the small tidal strip between Cruit Island and Kincasslagh (County Donegal)
A very brief walk down by the shore with the dogs yesterday before getting caught in a horizontal hail storm
Unusually high tide up into the fenced field down by the shore (if you can’t get through it you have to go round it!) Always thankful for my waterproof boots (wellies), good coat, hat and gloves in Donegal !

Happy New Year 🕉

Getting there

Me at CillRialaig in August 2020
Cottage 5 CillRiallaig studio area
Picnic bench overlooking the sea

I’m booked into the wonderful artist retreat (cottage 5 again woohoo) at CillRialaig in County Kerry for 8th January for two weeks. It will take me two days getting there on public transport, and I need to ship most of my materials in advance. I wish I found the planning stage easier, but once I’m there I’ll be there

Getting there

does the swallow

prepare for

her long flight

the night before

is the bear

aware of tomorrow

as she wakes

my brain leaps

in consternation

with calculations

of timetables

connections

arrivals departures

online booking apps

websites for overnights

advance preparations

ephemera

of getting there

from here

but once there

I’ll be there

with all of me

being simply

human

I can only

hope so

St Stephen’s Day

Watching the sky from our ‘sun room’ where we overwinter our geraniums. Nursing a sore back.

sudden gusts

of black dust

motes of

starlings

or small

songbirds

burst forth

from spidery

sycamore skeletons

waving bony

branch fingers

across the

gentle soft

grey sky

with luminous

liminal spaces

watched from

inside a

hazy cloud

of codeine

and caffeine

by bright globes

of whitest

geraniums

startling

against

these winter

hibernating

greens

Fingers Crossed

This is me at Hambly and Hambly gallery with my painting ‘Fermanagh Days’

This is my submission piece for the John Richardson French Residency Award 2021

The decision of the judges will be announced this evening.

I am so thrilled to be on the shortlist of 40 finalists for the award of a 10 day residency in France in April 2022

I wish all the shortlisted artists the very best of luck 🍀 There are 3 places available, and the winning artists will be hosted by Ciara and Nick Hambly and mentored by the Aosdana artist Eamon Colman

I’ll let you know 🤞🍀

PS. Not me! Congratulations to painters Katarzyna Gajewska and Gary Robinson 🙌

And Musician Clara Marie