Tag: anniversary

In Memory Of My Mother: Second anniversary

Wednesday, 6 September, 2017 1 Comment

Haruki Murakami once said: “No matter how much suffering you went through, you never wanted to let go of those memories.” And as we wrote on this day two years ago: Our loss is enormous. Our hearts are broken. Our sorrow is great. Our hope is that our mother, Catherine O’Donnell-Fitzgerald (29 July 1928 – 6 September 2015), will smile up at us and down on us — eternally — because we will forever be in her debt.

In Memory Of My Mother

I do not think of you lying in the wet clay
Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see
You walking down a lane among the poplars
On your way to the station, or happily

Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday —
You meet me and you say:
‘Don’t forget to see about the cattle — ‘
Among your earthiest words the angels stray.

And I think of you walking along a headland
Of green oats in June,
So full of repose, so rich with life —
And I see us meeting at the end of a town

On a fair day by accident, after
The bargains are all made and we can walk
Together through the shops and stalls and markets
Free in the oriental streets of thought.

O you are not lying in the wet clay,
For it is a harvest evening now and we
Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight
And you smile up at us — eternally.

Patrick Kavanagh

Mammy


Reflections

Friday, 9 September, 2016 0 Comments

We end our anniversary week here with a reflection on L’Élégance du hérisson (translated into English as The Elegance of the Hedgehog) by Muriel Barbery. The book is narrated by the residents of a small upper-class Paris apartment block, mainly its secret-intellectual concierge, Renée, and Paloma, the radical teenage daughter of a neighbouring family. Nearing the end, Renée says:

“Yes, my first thoughts go to my cat, not that he is the most important one of all but, before the real torment and the real farewells begin, I need to be reassured regarding the fate of my four-legged companion… and I take the measure of how the ridiculous, superfluous cats who wander through our lives with all the placidity and indifference of an imbecile are in fact the guardians of life’s good and joyful moments.”

Reflections

Now, I can confront the others.

Manuela, my sister, may fate keep me from being for you what you were for me: a safeguard against unhappiness, a rampart against banality. Carry on with your life, and think of me with joy.

There you are, Lucien, on a yellowed photograph, as if on a medallion, the way I see you in my memory. You are smiling, whistling… I did  love you well, after all, and for that reason, perhaps, I deserve to rest. We’ll sleep in peace in the little cemetery, in our village… In the evening, at sunset, you can hear the Angelus.”

Sometimes, you have to look back or look in the mirror to understand what lies ahead.


All you who sleep tonight

Thursday, 8 September, 2016 0 Comments

“Life is not easy for anyone here. Loss and fear, failure and disappointment, pain and ill-health, doubt and death – even those who have escaped from poverty have no escape from these. What makes life bearable is love – to love, to be loved, and – even after death – to know that you have loved and been loved.” Vikram Seth

The novelist and poet Vikram Seth divides his time between India, England, China and the USA. His most famous work is A Suitable Boy. Published in 1993, the book is one of the longest novels ever printed in the English language with its 1,488 pages and 591,552 words. A sequel, to be called A Suitable Girl, is due for publication next year.

At Evening

All you who sleep tonight
Far from the ones you love,
No hand to left or right
And emptiness above —

Know that you aren’t alone
The whole world shares your tears,
Some for two nights or one,
And some for all their years.

Vikram Seth

Evening candle


Oisín i ndiaidh na bhFiann

Wednesday, 7 September, 2016 0 Comments

The Irish phrase Oisín i ndiaidh na bhFiann (Oisín after the Fianna) means to be alone in the world after all your people are gone.

Oisín i ndiaidh na bhFiann

In the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology, Oisín, the son of Fionn mac Cumhaill, is visited one day by a beautiful woman named Niamh Chinn Óir (Niamh of the Golden Hair), who declares she loves him and takes him away to Tir na nÓg (“the land of the young”). After what seems to be three years (actually 300), Oisín wishes to return to Ireland and Niamh gives him a magical horse, but warns him not to dismount, because if his feet touch the ground he will become old and die. Upon arriving in Ireland, Oisín notes to his astonishment that all of Fionn’s palaces are in ruins and nobody can recall any of his companions. When he comes across a group of men building a road and attempts to help them lift a stone out of the way, his stirrup breaks and he falls to the ground, becoming an old man as Niamh had forewarned. Hence, Oisín i ndiaidh na bhFiann.


In Memory Of My Mother: First anniversary

Tuesday, 6 September, 2016 2 Comments

It is said that the mind, to protect sanity, covers old wounds with scar tissue and thus lessens pain. Maybe so. The pain does not go away, however. As we wrote on this day last year: Our loss is enormous. Our hearts are broken. Our sorrow is great. Our hope is that our mother, Catherine O’Donnell-Fitzgerald (29 July 1928 – 6 September 2015), will smile up at us and down on us — eternally — because we will be forever in her debt.

In Memory Of My Mother

I do not think of you lying in the wet clay
Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see
You walking down a lane among the poplars
On your way to the station, or happily

Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday —
You meet me and you say:
‘Don’t forget to see about the cattle — ‘
Among your earthiest words the angels stray.

And I think of you walking along a headland
Of green oats in June,
So full of repose, so rich with life —
And I see us meeting at the end of a town

On a fair day by accident, after
The bargains are all made and we can walk
Together through the shops and stalls and markets
Free in the oriental streets of thought.

O you are not lying in the wet clay,
For it is a harvest evening now and we
Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight
And you smile up at us — eternally.

Patrick Kavanagh

Mammy


Trees make a long shadow and a light sound

Monday, 5 September, 2016 0 Comments

“I’ll lie here and learn
How, over their ground,
Trees make a long shadow
And a light sound.”

Louise Bogan (1897 – 1970)

Mother and trees


The Triumph of Isis

Sunday, 13 December, 2015 0 Comments

No, this is not a post about the victory (God forbid!) of the evil scourge that rules parts of Iraq and Syria and incites its hate-filled followers to slaughter concert-goers in Paris and workers in San Bernardino. Actually, The Triumph of Isis is a poem in praise of the University of Oxford and its students composed in 1749 by Thomas Warton, who was the Poet Laureate of England from 1785 to 1790. The Triumph of Isis rebutted William Mason’s Isis, an Elegy published the previous year, which was rather unflattering to Oxford. Warton’s language appears orotund and arcane to our eyes and ears today:

In vain the thunder’s martial rage she stood,
With each fierce conflict of the stormy flood;
More sure the reptile’s little arts devour,
Than waves, or wars, or Eurus’ wintry pow’r.

Anyway, it so happens that today, 13 December, marks the 231st anniversary of the death of Dr. Samuel Johnson, the great English writer, biographer and lexicographer. Johnson was very witty, had a wicked sense of humour and could dispatch challengers and pretenders in style. He found Warton’s verses unbearably turgid and he disposed of the writer memorably in a mere eight lines Written in Ridicule of Certain Poems {of Thomas Warton} published in 1777:

Wheresoe’er I turn my view,
All is strange, yet nothing new;
Endless labour all along,
Endless labour to be wrong;
Phrase that time has flung away,
Uncouth words in disarray,
Trick’d in antique ruff and bonnet,
Ode, and elegy, and sonnet.

When it comes to ridicule, it’s hard to better “Endless labour all along, Endless labour to be wrong,” while “Phrase that time has flung away” is a perfect definition of cliché.


Death, be not proud

Thursday, 2 April, 2015 0 Comments

Daddy

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

John Donne (1572 – 1631)


Happy anniversary!

Friday, 31 October, 2014 0 Comments

Wedding cake


In sickness and in health

Thursday, 31 October, 2013 0 Comments

The Rainy Day team celebrates the annual anniversary of its union today. We have a lot to be grateful for and wish for many more days, rainy or fine, to celebrate our good luck.

Rainy Day hands

Days

What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?

Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

Philip Larkin, Collected Poems