trails of thought

How the Irish have given and taken so very much from me 

Bit dull as far as weather is concerned but never gloomy re me.  First day in Northern Ireland for the last thirteen years will have me reading and writing for my dissertation.  Then this afternoon/evening off to Belfast to have a Guinness!  Fifteen minutes by train my lovely AirBnB host tells me.  Am so happy in Ireland.

And it’s really weird: the thirteen years ago I talk about was when I fell in love with a beautiful woman.  And the time in Ireland previous to that was fifty years ago almost to the day when as a kid, just before the Troubles flared up, we went camping on the shores of Lough Neagh and ate freshly fried eels, still wriggling as they hit the pan.  And as we came in to Lisburn by bus from the airport yesterday, I tracked the journey on Google Maps, and I saw the lough’s name, and I sensed the scenery, and I remembered fifty years ago, and I remember the beautiful four days those thirteen years ago, and I remember the beautiful four hours on Bloomsday 2016 with her beautiful beautiful daughter.  And even though I was on the bus’s CCTV, I couldn’t not become tearful.

The Irish have given and taken so very much from me.

I would never have it any other way – except I would.  Now I would like to make peace with those memories.  Now I would like to see both mother and daughter again.

poetry, trails of thought

[I cannot / {be} / (free)] … until and unless!

I cannot be free

If still you can predict me.

And if I cannot be free

Then I cannot go and be.

I cannot be free

If still you attempt to predict me.

And if I cannot be free

Then I cannot go and be.

I cannot be free

If still you pride your predicting of me.

And if I cannot be free

Then I cannot go and be.

So I cannot be free, never at all,

Until and unless you decide right wise

To up the level of your tawdry ambition 

And aim to make all of us, free as each other.


Rom[antic] l{over}[s]

Let us disabuse ourselves scientific-

ally of all not-

ions of madly romantic love:

they involve being

swept along a tidal way of need,

and I do not want you to need me

for that is no freedom.

Such need imposes its will;

it ain’t you who’s doing the choosing.


Far better a love where the partners do

want each other: where that tidal

wave still exists but is hidden from

view and does not drive the choice;

where the liberty of choice

tells me you truly do value me in all that

I am: not because you see me madly

but precisely because you see me well.


I am at one with my past, just about

sorted: that past slowly is becoming that

other passed, and so I can now become able

to move onto another plane of my life

where sheets uncrumpled may one day be

no so, as lives do turn full circle.



Imagine, if you will, there were a

science of conscience.

That people could typify and studify

and stultify and

enclose and pro-


worthily pro-


sails of considered and

magnificent experiment

on sees

of die-

namic movement:

think how much dosh could be saved with

the cash that people would stop

spending on evil activity if one knew

exactly how to nudge fudgy people

into behaving themselves according

to less-

es and mores stipulated by organ-


sssss various.

And imagine you could define,

theoretically at least,

how reactions would cause

chemical splutte-

ring of hearted exp-

lesion in the con-

text – whether true or not – of com-

plex paper tombstone, written on reams

which only served to sound

the death-knells of all free will.

short short story


He’d learnt about love so much the past few months.  He’d realised the love he’d practised in the previous years had not been the kind of love he should’ve understood.

And although it was painful, and although he was sad, he knew in the future  – if love ever came his way again (he meant that a person he loved should also love him: freely, with liberty, without feeling imposed upon, without feeling obliged or made fast or tied down) – he’d be far better placed to be the kind of lover who made the life of his other much better than ever.

He still loved with all his heart the lover who’d parted his soul; who’d changed his life in ways he could never begin to explain.  But whilst he would always wait and whilst he would always be ready and whilst he could never forget and whilst he never wanted to forget and whilst he would now be able to do anything at all and whilst now he was prepared to run and jump and sing, and touch and caress and press and gasp and neck and offer up his soul and offer up his heart and offer up his body and offer up his life and his whole and his being and even his sense of bloody right and wrong, his understanding of love – the freedom and liberty and openness and gentleness and kindness and comprehension and comprehensive opening up to the needs and desires and wants of another – meant he could never any more consider that love was a matter of placing the other under the duress of an emotional pressure, born of a brutal ignorance – even when widely and casually shared – of the real place for humanity’s rights …

For love was not a question of making another sad, in the mad pursuit of a closeness to ensure one’s own significant happiness.  And freedom was everything.  And that was love.  And if sadness added adness to the mix that was two, then adness summed reality to the rights of them both.

And adness was the key.

And adness was the mystery.

And when you managed to understand adness, you finally understood love.

And that’s where he was.

And that’s where he’d arrived.

And never would his own need for love and self-esteem prevent him from trying to fulfil another’s need for kindness, first of all.