ANOIS TEACHT AN EARRAIGH

Suddenly at the end of my garden, a spring sign

A small bird twitters on a leafless spray,

Across the snow-waste breaks a gleam of gold:

What token can I give my friend today

But February blossoms, pure and cold?

Frail gifts from Nature’s half-reluctant hand ……

I seevthe signs of Spring about the land….

These chill snowdrops, fresh from wintry bowers,

Are the forerunners of a world of flowers.

by Sarah Downey, Snowdrops (Consolation), c. 1881

Traces of Autumn in Spring

The Hill We Climb: Youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman’s show-stopping0 performance

The 22-year-old poet wowed the crowd with her reading during Joe Biden’s swearing-in.

Heres the transcript of her poem, as reported on this historical day the 21st day, of the 21st year of the 21st century:

When day comes, we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade?


The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.


We’ve braved the belly of the beast.


We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice.


And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it.


Somehow we do it.
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.


We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.


And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge our union with purpose.
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man.


And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.

We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.

We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.

We seek harm to none and harmony for all.

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:

That even as we grieved, we grew.

That even as we hurt, we hoped.

That even as we tired, we tried.

That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.

Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid.

If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made.

That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare.

It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit.

It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it.

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

This effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, in this faith, we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.

This is the era of just redemption.

We feared it at its inception.

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it, we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.

So while once we asked, ‘How could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?’ now we assert, ‘How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?’

We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be:

A country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.

We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.

Our blunders become their burdens.

But one thing is certain:

If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change, our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left.

With every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the golden hills of the west.
We will rise from the wind-swept north-east where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.
We will rise from the sun-baked south.
We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.
In every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country,
our people, diverse and beautiful, will emerge, battered and beautiful.
When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

The 2020 lexicon

I have been keeping a Covid Diary since last March. Last week I had to start a Covid Diary (part 2). The first diary concentrated on the ebb and flow of the disease with numbers of deaths and confirmed cases recorded every day. This second one will have a slightly different focus, containing more current affairs social issues and how we’re living through this pandemic.

Covid Diary, Book 2

My first entry in this diary contained a list of new words that have entered our vocabulary with Covid 19.  Little did I realise that the Collins Dictionary experts would almost simultaneously be publishing their annual list of new words. 

Collins Dictionary lexicographers create a list of new and notable words at this time every year. The list tends to reflect cultural changes in the world.

Unsurprisingly, pandemic vocabulary is dominated with words such as “lockdown”, “furlough”  “key worker”, “self-isolate”, “social distancing” and naturally  “coronavirus”.

Away from the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) social justice movement is also recognised.

The social media platform, TikTok and its users, TikTokers, are also included.

Harry and Meghan have entered the lexicon with “Megxit”, their withdrawal from royal duties, announced in January 2020.

The catalogue of phrases is now certainly here to stay and could add to a good game of socially-distanced Scrabble.

Kamala Harris

An article from NY Times by Matt Stevens Nov 7 2020

Kamala Harris, the first woman, the first Black woman, and the first woman of Indian heritage to be elected vice president, said Saturday that “a new day for America” had arrived and thanked Americans for making their voices heard in a brief speech on Saturday night, hours after she and Joseph R. Biden Jr. had been declared the winners of the 2020 presidential election.

Kamala Harris

In her historic remarks, Ms. Harris recalled her mother, an immigrant who came to California as a teenager.

“She maybe didn’t imagine quite this moment,” Ms. Harris said of her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris. “But she believed so deeply in America where a moment like this is possible, and so I am thinking about her and about the generations of women, Black women, Asian, white, Latina, Native American women — who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment — women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all.”

Ms. Harris acknowledged “all the women who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century.

Rosa sat, so Ruby could walk, so Kamala could run.

“Tonight, she said, “I reflect on their struggle, their determination, and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened by what has been. And I stand on their shoulders.”

Vice presidents to date

Friend on Facebook this morning sourced inspiration for art work of Kamala ‘running’. It is a Bria Goeller design in collaboration with Good Trubble clothing Company.

Excellent insults

Had to share this example of how insults are disimproving with the passage of time:

Benjamin Disraeli was heckled by member of Commons: Sir, you’ll either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease!”. To which Disraeli replied: ” That will depend on whether I embrace your politics or your mistress!”

Which brought me to Google other great insults:

Oscar Wilde: “Some cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go.”

Albert Einstein: “Only two things are infinite– the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not so sure about the former.

Great to watch LIVE GAA again

I didnt realise how much I loved GAA until this pandemic hit. During March, April, May, June, July, I watched replays (favourites of course being last 5 All Irelands!). Replays are great when interspersed with LIVE games. On their own, month after month, even watching great games becomes tedious.

COYBIB

Having watched The Toughest Summer last night the benefits of playing this year’s inter-county football championship are such for players and spectators alike, that everyone involved should do what they have to to get it up and running.

Everyone acknowledges that it won’t be straightforward. The Covid pandemic means things are rarely simple these days and there will be hurdles to overcome.

So it was great when club championships started. Suddenly the dream of an All Ireland championship was possible.

I’d play in front of Dessie and his dog


But for spectators, there’s joy of even watching ”live” inter-county games on the TV.


For the players? Michael Darragh Macauley probably captures their mood: “Give me 200 people, it will be a novelty but if that has to be zero, just Dessie Farrell and his dog, that’s what it is.”

A Dub supporter in Aus

Resilience and Solidarity

It’ll be called GOLFGATE. Elected reps and people of supposed standing and judgement in our society golfed and partied disregarding all health precautions to restrict the spread of Covid-19.

Those of us who had endured the sacrifices of lockdown needed words of inspiration. And Dr. Ronan Glynn, Acting Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health provided them:

“I know that at times we can all feel powerless against COVID-19. But we are not.
“Each of us has a range of simple tools at our disposal – knowing the risks, washing our hands, not touching our faces, keeping physically distant, avoiding crowds, limiting visitors to our homes, and wearing a face covering.

Dr. Ronan Glynn

“But the most powerful tool of all remains our solidarity with one another – by encouraging each other to stick with the basic measures and by continuing to act and adapt together we can suppress the transmission of this virus once again.”

The passing of Jackie Charlton August 2020

I couldn’t believe I would be so saddened to hear of the passing of a football manager – But I was. Jack Charlton was such a part of our life in 32 for a decade.

He personified a golden era in Irish football-the Italia 90 campaign being one of pure joy for the O’Loughlin family as we sent our representatives to Italy for the 1990 World Cup. 

And we, at home, might as well have been there. We knew all the support songs. I even played one of them – We’re all part of Jackie’s Army – at the end of year mass in Milltown by special request of the PP. (I was the official organist there – God help us!). I was also the band conductor and on the afternoons of matches the band sat on the wall outside the school giving (strange but enthusiastic!) renditions of “Ole, Ole. Ole!” and “Jackie’s Army” with lots of flag waving and singing by non-band students.   

Ole. Ole. Ole

We had high expectations for USA World Cup 1994 and “knew” it was the heat of New York and the humidity of Florida that brought about our downfall. I still have the video of Jim’s appearance on the Nine o’clock News singing pre-match in Miami. 

Staying over in Granny’s

Magical memories.