Heuston Station, Dublin
Three trains have come and gone
and the fourth will run me
into the charging west wind.
I am a man in a raincoat
with a backpack full of
transient clobber and a toothbrush.
The sun, outside, spreads itself about like a
beauty on a blustery beach — not avoiding
me, not seeking me.
Tomorrow is tomorrow and
Today is breath after tangled breath.
Now is now
in and out of step
The experience of becoming put into song and picture - the persistence of an evening blackbird belling a spring twilight - the exile at home in his away, away in his home, and seeking images to hold the spaces in-between - the surrender to the imagination immersed in the bogginess of place, in the certainties of place, in the absences of place - creating in the uncertain, a bright darkness of the spirit mind, the fairy mound, the woman Mary Hynes perhaps turning the corner on the road ahead.
Yeats said it is "always necessary to affirm and reaffirm that nationality is in the things that escape analysis." In this personal journey away from and back, and away again and again, Terry McDonagh reaffirms things that escape our analysis in growing up, especially that extraordinary clasp on the psyche of birthplace and places where we have lived. His words will echo in some readers' memories, or create images for others.
Sally McKenna hears in these lines echoes of youth and age; and responds here with images that carry through a lifetime; from brightly coloured celebrations to those delicate swirlings of the ash, thornbush and oak, from her abstract or surreal insights to the actuality of people on the land, within the landscape. All her pictures discover the poet's place. Here, in conversing word and picture, is Cill Aodain (Killedan) of the mind, Cill Aodain of all our minds on this ancient island where our tribes blooded land and people for affirmation, for generation.
Today we journey along a new and technologically washed terrain. Holding what we have made and not losing what we have been offered by our past is difficult in slippery seasons. The poet or the painter is always transformed by making art, but not simply so; the words and the images become in turn agents of transformation, changing the air we breathe and the hills we walk. But things unveiled for us through art can open our brave new world, can reveal that place our bodies come from, where our souls are shaped. We can chant its past, we can seed its future, we can be, here in our own places.
Some seek elsewhere. For others, and for this poet, elsewhere becomes at the end of the day 'nowhere else' but where it all began. The sense of place, and its possibilities for the imagination, especially places we have flown from only to return again and again - 'these are the tufts of delight in the dark muddle of November.' Here we may live our lives of 'sin and wrinkles' and walk to 'benediction'.
Echoes offer tribute to the great Anthony Raftery of his home place, and also to a poet of our own time, Austin Clarke for whom men "Drank deep and were silent....". McDonagh is not silent; and he promises to finish his poem, one way or another, in this life or the next. Cill Aodain is why.
Boyne Valley ToursPrivate Tour with pick up and return to your accommodation. Newgrange World Heritage site, the 10th century High Crosses at Monasterboice, Hill of Tara the seat of the High Kings, Bective Abbey and Trim Castle the largest Norman castle in Ireland More ...