Monday, May 05, 2008

A burning thread

The seagulls are crying
Swirling up to spray
Upon the ocean of my mind
Blown, by a breeze of yesterday.

Oh! the simple gentle thoughts
The loneliness of the prisoner
To see the golden mermaid of the rock
Yet, to be cut adrift from her.

The mind knows no doors
A burning candle in the night
To seek the green or grey of yesterday
Or the 'if' the 'wish' or 'might'.

In the tomb the darkest depths
The candle flickers dying
Death is slaying life unseen
While the seagulls are crying.

Bobby Sands, died May 5th, 1981

Why would I not forget this day?
It's also the birthday - Happy brithday, James! - of an Irish Dominican I once, in 1974, met in San Clemente, and who happened to become one of the dearest persons in this agnostic's life.
Actually, I am almost sure if it had not been for meeting him, I'd rather probably than perhaps not have come to 'know' Ireland better than my native country.

'to know'? Ah, the more I came to learn the less I felt to know.
Helplessness in the face of a 'terrible beauty' in which children long before their first day at school would know more about hatred than about what day by day is fervingly being preached in the church but not as fervently being practiced: love.

One last sentence for now:
I didn't, don't and (very hopefully) won't ever support violence.
However I am trying to understand its 'sources', its 'mechanisms'.
Nothing more, nothing less.

This just to make sure that I'll not be misunderstood.


  1. Tell me about bigotry.. take an old schoolmate: he is an ex catholic like myself but his wife is Ulster protestant and a delightful person. Imagine their joy as the sister in law taught her four year old boy to say fuck the Pope... How wonderful eh?

  2. Thank You for your visit :-)

    I don't support violence either, but it is important to explore why other people take that path...

  3. I didn't know Bobby Sands had written something so beautiful. Thank you for drawing my attention to it. I do see exactly where you are coming from, Sean.

  4. We all believe that we will never become violent or support violence, but can we be totally sure?

  5. A poem so much deeper than what it first seems. I agree Sean it is wise to study and understand violence - through understanding we are able to protect ourselves from it.

  6. Jams,
    thousands of such 'tiny' examples in my archive, and coming to think about, at least dozens in my mind.

    Did you happen to read 'Ireland - A terrible Beauty' by Leon (text) and Jill (photos) Uris?

    Glad you agree. Sometimes I wish I knew less (about violence). And when being in such a mood, I wish I were a humble gardener, fond of literature and poetry, writing a poem now and then.

    thanks for your kindness.
    I chose this poem from 'Skylark Sing Your Lonely Song' - an anthology of the writings of Bobby Sands, The Mercier Press, 1982,
    ISBN 0-85342-726-7

    no, at least I can not be sure. It's a struggle; not daily, but a permanent struggle.
    And yes, I know that anybody who'd try to abuse / murder one of my beloved in front of my eyes, I might kill him/her - that is if I had the opportunity / if they let me.

    Well, and not to forget the 'violence of language'. Like a hand can both tenderly caress and kill, language enables to caress minds and souls, and to deeply hurt.
    Not to use this awful weapon - which I am able to use 'virtuously' :) - sometimes is a great challenge.

    :) Hm, reflecting on what is written above, I feel the necessity to add: Although it seems I am a 'walking / talking / writing weapon' I think I am not the greatest threat under the sun, for my contemporaries.

    yes! That is why I chose this poem, and no other.
    As for ways to protect oneself from getting violent: A painting and a poem can protect, too.
    Thus, thanks to you. :)

  7. What a beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing it.

    Sean, You are a champion!

  8. James,
    thanks for this very special comment (no irony). I think I do understand. Still, would you be so kind and explain why you'd comment that you can't comment? Via email, if you prefer.

    you do not wish me to soon suffer from megalomania, do you? :)
    Seriously: Thanks for the compliment, and I am glad you like the poem.
    Cheers. :)

  9. Goodness I did not even consider the violence inflicted by words.

    How easy that seems for many people, especially in the blogosphere. What they say with their fingers on a keyboard they would never say in person to one's face.

    We must be ever vigilant, for words stand alone, without facial expression or body language to soften them if necessary. Perhaps a little laziness in writing can give the wrong impression as I have found to my sorrow, having been misinterpreted. And when using another language probably done so much more easily.