Friday, September 10, 2010

Seamus Heaney, waterfalls and scabies

Never ask someone who doesn't drive for directions. At least not if you're trying to get somewhere by car. We went to a reading by Seamus Heaney on Tuesday night at NUI Galway, and if we'd followed the instructions given would have ended up at a bollard with nowhere to park. But all was well. We arrived safely, and were even on time. The evening was a charity event in support of Cancer Care West, and gave me a sense of déjà vu as it was held in the same hall as my MA graduation last year. Except this time we had poetry and music from the ConTempo String Quartet, the Galway Ensemble in Residence since 2003. They are from Romania and perform and teach throughout the county.

I haven't been to many classical performances being a diddly eye person, so we felt very cultured listening to this. Superb musicians. Then there was Seamus, introduced by his friend from schooldays Des Kavanagh, who is a member of my poetry group. It was all very personal, and Seamus' readings reflected the nature of the evening. He not only read from his new collection Human Chain, but chose older poems from times spent in Galway or were otherwise meaningful.

More poetry tonight, though the evening won't be at quite such an elevated level. Here's the poster for it:

I was one of the editors of Behind the Masks so will be reading a poem - but not my own. Each of the editors will read someone else's poem.

Joe's been given an evening off poetry - he's done his stint for this week.

Water water everywhere. Again. The small river was roaring all through the night. I like that sound. It's constant and soothing. We've a few waterfalls on the river and that's what makes the most noise.
Below the waterfall in the garden
This photo is looking down from the flat bridge to the whirlingness below. No risk of it coming up over the bridge this time though I don't think.

Looking across the hills from the gateway up the track.

This photo suggests more rain to come.

Hope it's not a foretaste of what the winter might bring.

It's Devil's-bit scabious time on the verges. I love the name. It's a beautiful flower too. Purple pompoms loved by insects. It can be mistaken for sheep's-bit (wouldn't you know), but is of a different family.  Devil's is in the Teasel family while sheep's is a Bellflower. Devil's-bit is a tantalizing name and makes me think it should have something to do with magic and cauldrons, but disappointingly, according to Richard Mabey, it comes from the short, bitten-off look of the rootstock. The name scabious is better though. It was a medicinal plant for scabies which is also known as sarcoptic mange. My god. I think I'd rather have scabies than sarcoptic mange.

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