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July 21, 2018 / sheenannigan

I really must begin this blog again

It has been 6 years since I set up my WordPress, and 6 years since I posted anything.

I have been busy though. I finished my BA (Hons) in English Lit with the OU, and really enjoyed the Creative Writing Modules. So signed up for a Masters at Loughborough Uni. Although that year was a great experience, I was tired of taking – my car to Park and Ride, a tram to the Railway Station, a train to Loughborough and then a bus to Uni. The journey on average was 2 hours each way for a 2 hour lecture.

It was a great springboard though, and I met lots of lovely students – a great bunch!

In the end, I transferred to Nottingham Trent (much more practical – 20 mins by car) and will complete my Masters in Creative Writing in about six weeks time.

My Loughborough experience was not wasted and I continued a project begun there – writing poetry about Japan for my dissertation.

So what do I do now?

I will continue writing poetry for sure, but I like to have something to aim for. Something new to learn.

One of my Japan poems.

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October 9, 2012 / sheenannigan

Last day in Waterville

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October 8, 2012 / sheenannigan

The Quagga

THE QUAGGA

By mid-century there were two quaggas left,

And one of the two was male.

The cares of office weighed heavily on him.

When you are the only male of a species,

It is not easy to lead a normal sort of life.

The goats nibbled and belched in casual content;

They charged and skidded up and down their concrete mountain.

One might cut his throat on broken glass,

Another stray too near the tigers.

But they were zealous husbands; and the enclosure was always full,

Its rank air throbbing with ingenuous voices.

The quagga, however, was a man of destiny.

His wife, whom he had met rather late in her life,

Preferred to sleep, or complain of the food and the weather.

For their little garden was less than paradisiac,

With its artificial sun that either scorched or left you cold,

And savants with cameras eternally hanging around,

To perpetuate the only male quagga in the world.

Perhaps that was why he failed to do it himself;

It is all very well for goats and monkeys –

But the last male of a species is subject to peculiar pressures.

If ancient Satan had come slithering in, perhaps . . .

But instead the savants, with cameras and notebooks,

Writing sad stories of the decadence of quaggas.

And then one sultry afternoon he started raising Cain.

This angry young quagga kicked the bars and broke a camera;

He even tried to bite his astonished keeper.

He protested loud and clear against this and that,

Till the other animals became quite embarrassed

For he seemed to be calling them names.

Then he noticed his wife, awake with the noise,

And a curious feeling quivered round his belly.

He was Adam: there was Eve.

Galloping over to her, his head flung back,

He stumbled, and broke a leg, and had to be shot.

by D. J. Enright

October 8, 2012 / sheenannigan

Hello world!

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”

― Hermann Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

tags: eternity, fear, forests, history, holiness, home, life, longing, poet, roots, self-discovery, spirituality, strength, trees, trust

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