Sunday, April 17, 2011

Untold Stories

For the past few weeks I've been browsing through some storylines which I began writing in the early 1990s. Back then my doodling was confined to handwriting in a refill pad!.

The reason I'm mentioning these is because I'm strongly thinking of completing each story with the view to one day seeing them either, in print in Eason's window (Ireland's leading bookstore) or perhaps one or two of them becoming the storyline for a short film.

I plan to post snippets here from each story and hopefully get feedback as to whether it has the potential to evolve into an exciting project. Beginning to feel excited already!

The above photo of me taken last June in Allihies, West Cork reminds me of that beautiful summer of almost constant warm sunshine and the sounds of the birds and bees along the bohreen hedgegrows. Me being ever optimistic of course is living in hope of repeat weather conditions this year!.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Song For The Innocents

Next month will mark the thirty seventh anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings. Like all moments in history that mark death, whether it be expected or untimely, or as in this case the callous, barbaric murder of thirty three innocent men, women and children (twenty six people in Dublin, seven in Monaghan) May 17, 2011 will not only be a painful reminder for us not directly affected (although my friend was injured and had to have immediate surgery on her hand), but for the people who lost loved ones on that dark day, it will undoubtedly only serve to reopen the wounds that have in most cases never healed.

I was so shocked and distraught following that horror that one week later on Sunday morning, May 26, I wrote these words in my bedsit in Rathmines which would become my protest song against the use of killing machines of any kind.

Living Will Go On


They say that life's for living
We must live it every day.
Don't talk of hate for others
Be careful what you say.
For love is all around us
Share it each and everyone
Then when we love together
Living will go on.


I met an old man yesterday
We walked beside a stream.
He told me how he longed to smile
How freedom was his dream.
So if we walk beside this man
Well, things they can't go wrong.
We'll all join hands together
And living will go on.


Child of war lay down your gun
What right have you to kill?
You can't win what you're fighting for
You know you never will.
So forget about destruction
'Cause wars just can't be won,
Together let's try to find lost peace
Then living will go on.

© Ann Brien 2011

Image: Me in 1971.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Summerhouse

The summers of my childhood hold wonderful memories of Sunday afternoons when my mother and father would take me to visit uncles Bill and John in Lucan, a picturesque village about twelve miles outside Dublin.

The highlight of those trips was entering the house they lived in. It was a single storey, possibly thatched roof, creepy cottage set deep in a field surrounded by trees that shrouded the house like menacing tentacles. The main room with its open fireplace had one of those large wooden benches with the backs you see in period films but what I remember most about that room was the total lack of natural light mainly because the window was tiny. What more than made up for it though was the warm glow from the turf fire where black iron cooking pots hung from a black iron rail.

Outside the house was the huge field which had a gate lodge at its entrance. I got to know its occupants simply because they had a baby and of course wherever there was a baby to be held I was there.

Shortly before I'd leave uncle Bill would take me for a walk along a pathway behind the house which led to an old summerhouse. Uncle John, his brother, because of his poor eyesight would remain in the cottage for the duration smoking his pipe and chatting with my parents.

I keep promising myself to return there some day but I think what's preventing me from going is the fear that the strange little cottage, which incidentally reminds me of the little house in the Hansel and Gretal fairy tale, may have been demolished to make way for a housing estate. I sincerely hope I'm wrong.

In order to preserve my memory of those lovely times I've put together a few words of dedication to both the summerhouse and my long departed uncles. May they rest in peace.

The Summerhouse

Along the winding path we'd stroll
William pointing out a pretty flower here and there,
I'd ask its name, he'd tell, but the passing years have stolen its label.

This sanctuary with its soft earthy footing,
Framed on either side by trees with arms entwined like fragile ballerinas,
Fed the hunger of my fledgling imagination.
The gurgling unhurried weir sauntering alongside our footsteps,
The cooing wood pigeons pledging love across the treetops,
Both these sounds created for me a world momentarily devoid of suffering.

At the end of that magical pathway stood the summerhouse;
Its round frame enveloping me in its paint-flaked wooden arms
I'd dance, round and round, my own arms outstretched
Touching the vertical bars until I was dizzy, dizzy, dizzy!
Exhausted, I'd stretch along its circular seat amidst the bird feathers
And dead leaves from winters long past.

Outside, William, or Uncle Bill as he was to me, would wait with
Job's patience for my emergence.
Then, hand in hand, we'd make our way back to the little house
Between the trees.

© Ann Brien 2011

Gazebo image via:
Hansel and Gretal image via: wikipedia