Pictures from the sunrise this morning on the 1st January 2021 at Blackrock, Salthill, Galway, Ireland. Wishing you all a "New Dawn" in 2021 and an end to the devastation wrought by Covid-19.
Friday, January 01, 2021
Wednesday, December 02, 2020
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
The Christmas card above depicts the annual pilgrimage of all Connemara sailors; and their traditional engineless sailing boats known as the Galway Hookers (huicéir in Irish, the name thought to be derived from the similarity constructed 16th century Dutch coastal "hook and line" fishing boats, the Hoekers), on the 16th July every year – weather permitting – to St Sinach's 10th century oratory on Oileán Mhic Dara (Island of St Sinach MacDara) off Carna in South Connemara; to celebrate mass.
Speaking of pilgrimages I wish most for all of us is that we find a sense of forgiveness perhaps but more importantly a sense of peace within which we can reach out, back or forward to someone, for whatever reason, we have left drift from our lives.
I also hope that the scourge of Covid will at last be contained in 2021 and we can renew the friendships that matter.
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Friday, September 25, 2020
Like something from Kubrick's 2001– A space Odyssey the conceptual artist John Gerrard installed a reflecting and reflective existentialist 'CUBE' as part of Galway 2020 - Reimagined. It is to be dismantled soon. It has been a curious addition to the landscape but like one of Kubrick's monoliths has perhaps left more questions than answers!
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Lütuf ya da yük değil artik
Bir göğün birakilmasi gibi
Ve genişliği bozkirin
Bozkirda eksik kalan yaratilma.
Burden or grace no more.
You were deserted
like a sky abandoned.
The spaciousness of the steppe
and creation missing in the steppe.
– From the poem Senin Birakilman in How Abraham Abandoned Me by Bejan Matur and translated by Ruth Christie with Selçuk Berlingen.
In pursuit of a current recidivist Turkish political will to direct and control a systematic ethnic genocide of the Kurdish people, who in many cases in eastern and south eastern Turkey in particular, ironically occupied the suddenly abandoned lands of the Armenian people, who were subjected to previous genocide in 1915 by a former Turkish political will. This recurrent fault line in Turkish polity renders the aspirations and rights of individuals and of peoples to a similar fate as much as the seismic shifting of tectonic plates under Iznik and Istanbul.
The malignant will of the Turkish state has sundered the life of Ebru Timtik, a 42 year-old Kurdish lawyer, who died after a hunger strike lasting 238 days. She had initiated the hunger strike in January 2020 in pursuit of a fair trial following her arrest and detention in September 2017 and conviction and sentencing to 13.5 years in jail at a trial conducted in March 2019; a trial conducted without process, without hope and without justice.
Ebru her first name, derives from the word for "cloud" but is also a word that means marbling, a Persian and then Ottoman process of painting on water and then transferring that painting to paper. As all our lives show, the patterns although planned have a will of their own. Marbling is also I suppose a signpost of death, a mile marker on the path from mortality to immortality.
To be a martyr ( Gr: martys; Syriac: sāhdā; Arabic: shahīd [s.] shuhadā [pl.];Kurdish: şehîd) means to be a “witness” . In Islamic law shāhid “to witness” is also the paramount medium of legal evidence. Ebru Timtik is such a shahīd who tried to give witness, shāhid, to the injustice of the state.
I would prefer to think of her as one of the shuhadā’ al-ghurba, as one of the “martyrs who die far from home”.
Even in a State of which she was a citizen, she died far from home in a foreign land that was her land, denied justice and fairness and life by that State.
Note: Bejan Matur is Turkey's premier poet, a Kurd and also a lawyer. Her book of poems from which a part poem is used above is published by Arc Publications 2012 (www.arcpublications.co.uk)
Friday, September 04, 2020
Walking on the shoreline yesterday, near the site of Roscam Abbey and Round Tower to the east of Galway city, I couldn't help speculating when looking at the shapes and random contortions of these limestone encapsulated sea shells in boulders at the high water tideline about the possibility of a lost language or encryption of our landscape. Roscam Abbey was the objective of one of the first Viking raids in Ireland in 807 ce and the documentation of that recent history pales into insignificance against the possibility of a language of epochs.
Friday, June 12, 2020
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Sunday, April 05, 2020
In the ICU that evening, at the appointed time, surrounded by her family, all of the alarms that had previously signalled challenges to her existence were muted and the mechanical exhaling hooshing sound that had always surrounded us when visiting her suddenly ceased. The noise was there one moment and then gone, a gossamer chord of that existence rendered. The moment was the "tocht na beatha", the silencing of life and in that instant the heat of her life also quickly evaporated, dissipating to leave only the cold silence behind and her journey’s end.
“I suppose he is off gallivanting somewhere.”
It implied an admired and sometimes wished-for shared wandering, a flight of exploration but also an encouragement. Courage mes amis, gallant mes amis. Her usage was romantic but gender neutral and when attached to a freedom of thought and action and an absence of malice, it engendered a sense of wellbeing, a sense of desire in both observer and participant. This notion of departure, this gallivanting was entirely liberating and could be towards a person or indeed a landscape.
“Ah! That will put an end to his gallivanting”;
said with slight relish as she referred to either illness or marriage (or variations on those themes) clipping the wings of her target gadfly. Gallivanting in her usage was also a gender-neutral activity but noticeably a far greater degree of opprobrium was often reserved for the female of the gallivanting kind, the falling woman. Gallivanting in her mind was a terminal condition, a journey that was linear, predictable and that would change everything… before ending with a shuddering halt, with a denouement. Returning to Homer, Achilles journey to Troy was also foretold but his gallivanting was linear: he knew he would not be returning and once embarked was determined to make it as glorious a journey as he could.
Like my mother and mother-in-law’s differing interpretation of the notion of, and indeed the language of gallivanting, the language and landscapes of our daily experience has changed. The pilgrimages have ceased: the circumambulation of the Haj, the scallop shelled trodden path of Sant Iago and detours to the local Holy Well. Exploration and religion have become virtual and philosophy turns to metaphors of movement and time travel. There is reassurance, however, in the fact that the sun still sets in the west and you can keep moving westwards in your virtual world towards that setting sun and still arrive to the east of from where you left. Journeys of your mind without a defined purpose but laden with the potential for continuous distraction and detour are like that.
Gallivanting is truly like that.