Review by Terri Mertz
St. Brigid’s Garden Well, Tully, Co. Kildare
Kevin Bateman prefaces these poetry readings with the comment that he is recounting “events in spiritual places people have forgotten to visit.”
His poem “Inside the Fire There is Healing” is a lyrical commentary of persons unknown whom he does not describe or define for the reader: “I chased them and I never stopped. Impunity is what they enjoy.” While we do not know who “they” are, Bateman is on a mission of revenge. The poem elicits a sense of conformism vs non-conformism.
Mary O’Donnell reads three original poems. Her first is “Within the Secret State.” “Twenty years ago, it felt like a secret explosion across despair.” [I felt] “…a need to walk hand in hand beside a secret…” In this piece, O’Donnell describes a rural landscape “…where humming barley catches the last mist, and the sun throws a limb of delight across the world’s deep bed…”. The second poem is “The Bogwitch’s Daughter One Summer.” In this piece, O’Donnell provides a vision of a swampy place. “My threadwork spread out and died, abandoned on gardens and fields…” “…a hint of dry grass…” The poet presents a tribute to life in the environment of a bog, comprising fairy lore and incorporating the unique herbalism and medicinal plants that flourish in the wet habitat. The third poem is “Against the Vanishing Hollywood Lake, County Monaghan.” This poem is an ode to the Earth and the global underpinnings of society along with the vast array of flora and fauna that are under duress because the inhabitants of this planet have relinquished their responsibilities to maintain supervision for the planet’s well-being.
Lynn Buckle reads two of her poems. The first piece is an esoteric composition recounting the lore of St. Brigid. The second piece also presents a view of St. Brigid’s folkloric place in Irish Legend and discusses how trees and plants communicate amongst themselves.
Tiziana Soverino reads three of her original works. “Mountains” provides a lyrical presentation contrasting the rush and frenzy of city life with the serenity of the otherworldliness of mountainsides.
“Chain of Inspiration” celebrates the notion of silence, intimating that most people are terrified of quiet, unlike the poet, who seeks out and embraces the “wonderful enchanted silence” of sleepy villages and … “paths thickly covered with snow.” These images inspire the poet’s heart and give promise for a more satisfying mode of living because silence is more fluid and changing, like the “ebb and flow of the ocean tide” and these visions regenerate the poet’s life.
“At The Edge” is a metaphysical look at anguish, referencing the edge of sunset. She compares anguish to a “loose page detached from its original manuscript…unbound, battered by wind and rain…” The poet discusses her attempt to construct for herself a shield of armour to protect herself despite her “splendid isolation in a land of broken dreams.” In this piece, Soverino ends with the line: “Dusk is a time for reflection.”
Doreen Duffy reads three poems. The first is “Across Moon and Stars.” This poem is a portrait of the lines on her father’s face, which represent a map of the journey he has planned for her life.
The second poem is “A Place of Stone.” This is an ode to St. Brigid’s Well, intoning the silence and isolation of the place: “…water murmurs its healing grace…Bleached grasses hook themselves to trees. Duffy invokes a sense of wonder at the way nature has constructed a protective canopy within the hidden “garden Well,” and likens the flowers to a human family. The water is a “chanting prayer, a contemplation.”
The third poem is “This is Only for a While.” This piece is written for the poet’s best friend and is a lament about the metaphorical journey they must travel together. There is a suggestion that the friend is dealing with a terminal illness: “I will take you to the sea, and when we reach the water’s edge I will pull the rowboat down and help you step inside, and we will laugh so hard…” “…When we reach the line where the ocean falls away, the wind will whip and drown our screams and lift us out of the deep…”
Mairead Carroll reads three of her poems. The first is “Hope,” a metaphorical dissection of the notion of hope and how it gives dimension to her life. “Hope is pulling me along, it is seeping in through my bones; like tears, it falls and rises again with the morning sun…” The poet is not sure where the path of Hope will lead and does not know even if Hope is a trustworthy guide because the path is filled with “puddles and potholes.” “Hope is the bridge that carries me on this road.” The next poem is “Silver Linings and Shiny Things.” This piece is a poetic introspection about gazing at clouds and musing about taking a fantastic journey that includes swinging from the stars while the poet watches autumn leaves falling at her feet. She describes the floating clouds as “passion of angels”, and wonders if airplane pilots have the same sense of wonder when they see the fluffy clouds.
The third poem is “The Space of Time.” In this piece, the poet ponders what her next artistic attempt should be. Should she write a poem, sing a song, or write a song? She muses about the silence in her house and how she should encounter it—does her hand want to write? And then the poet momentarily breaks into song, as though attempting that endeavor— “a waltz of life.” In the end, the poet does not come to any conclusion about what she will do with her free time.
You can follow each of these engaging poets at their Twitter handles:
Mary O’Donnell is here.
Lynn Buckle is here.
Tiziana Soverino is here.
Doreen Duffy is here.
Mairead Carroll is here.
Kevin Bateman is here.