In Dublin I knew a woman, with flax golden hair Tressed like wild sea waves, her heart, her voice was Irish, her name, her vibrancy were Viking. She was Dublin. We lived, together, in The Liberties while both of us sought freedom, she, from youth and I, from bondage. The Viking Wall is behind my…Read more Wild Sea Waves
There are, according to Eddie Cochran, three steps to Heaven, which is a comforting thought when you consider the Irish aren't sure how many steps there are to Hell. Ask any Dubliner where you'll find the 40 Steps and there's a chance you'll be given just as many answers. The most likely candidates though will…Read more Steps
In Dublin, a child’s spinning top was found, remnant from antiquity, the detritus of a Viking city buried by another city. In Baghdad, I remember, a Sumerian spinning top discarded through millennia find light and air amid the chaos and turmoil of war and plunder. Ninety years ago a spinning top was a Christmas gift.…Read more Perpetual Motion
The ‘news’ that Robin Hood’s Little John is buried in Hathersage, Derbyshire (http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/little-johns-grave) will come as a surprise to the people of Dublin, Ireland since the same John Little was hanged for robbery and buried in Arbour Hill, an inner city area on the north side of old Dublin, close to one of the first…Read more Little John’s Shot
Some people can vex and annoy, make you feel antsy, the sound of their voice can be as grating as a cat's claws sliding down a blackboard, they can get on your goat, under your skin and rub you up the wrong way but this was worse. It was visceral. Picture credit: Lost in the…Read more VISCERAL
Martin knew the procedure. Stay calm, behave normal, answer the questions and present his documents, without ceremony. The commandant seemed affable. He didn't parade like a martinet. Instead, he was smiling, friendly. But as his officers examined his documents, Martin sweated. If they got close, they'd see the blood ooze.
It made my blood boil, yesterday, when I came across a Facebook thread of people joking facetiously about the future implications of AI and robot technology so I've decided to repost this article from The Guardian by Samuel Gibbs An Open letter signed by Tesla chief and Alphabet’s Mustafa Suleyman urges UN to block…Read more Elon Musk leads 116 experts calling for outright ban of killer robots
Place names can be endlessly fascinating, particular for the insight they give you to where you live and its history. Happily, the district I live in is the oldest part of the city of Dublin, called The Liberties and it's packed full of evocative names like Marrowbone Lane, Winetavern Street and Fishamble Street, to name…Read more Cutthroats and Murderers
As true and relevant today (maybe more)
Seventy years since the survivors’ of Auschwitz were liberated, I was watching a tv documentary where six of them recounted their stories of survival and the terrible aftermath they’ve endured, of nightmares and tragedies. One Polish man, Dr Tadeusz Smreczynski, who became a doctor and practiced general medicine within ten minutes of the camp gates, has been forever haunted, not just by the memories but by his own physical proximity to the camps. One other thing that horrifies him, is an aria from Puccini’s opera, Tosca, itself a tale told against a backdrop of tyranny and oppression. He heard an inmate singing the aria. He said it was strange to hear such a thing in the surroundings of the camp. An S.S. guard heard it, too and ran to find its source. Our survivor asked someone, what happened? The singer was killed. His story moved me to write this poem.
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