In ancient Ireland poets underwent a rigorous training, an apprenticeship. The severity of the process reflected the high status and recognised power of the poets, the bards. In this reading I have attempted a meditation upon these ancestral poets of mine. The images are all my own and taken variously in the foothills of Na Staighre Dubha, the Blackstairs Mountains and Rinn an Dubhain, The Hook Peninsula, The dolmen is Brownstown Dolmen, Co. Carlow with reputedly the largest capstone of all the dolmens.
A view of the tholsel, a vilanelle inspired by the painting of Paul Henry, RHA, a reading by myself, hope you enjoy…
Meditation on a view of the The Tholsel, Kilkenny
A villanelle inspired by the painting of Paul Henry, RHA
Firstly, let us consider the chosen point of view.
Rejecting the familiar the artists searching gaze led
him to the little known garden where poplars grew.
There he lingered a long while in the breeze,
eyes lifted up from the river’s leafy bank,
working in the cool shade of shimmering trees,
looking over high stone walls, none new,
all old, all grey, stone on stone leading upwards
where, framed by white clouds, by sky of soft blue
an octagonal tower sheathed in copper leaves
presents four clock faces to the people,
chiming out the hours in pleasant peals.
The visiting artist caught our familiar anew,
carrying his canvas down Horseleap Lane, long
vanished now, forgotten, remembered only by the few.
So my familiar seems exotic to you
as my exotic is your familiar too.
So your story helps me see and feel
I am rock
I am rock,
I am stone,
I am old but I am here.
I was once something else
Now I am stone.
My surface is worn, scratched, chipped
I am still me, I am stone.
Look closely at me,
There are colours where it seems
There is only one colour,
There are marks where it seems smooth,
And all the time, I am what I am,
I am stone.
The shape I am now
Is not the shape I always had,
But I am still stone.
This was published as part of the Kilkenny Library Poets on Board Scheme