Monday, August 29, 2011


TV channels have been showing the violence in Tripoli until yesterday when preparations for Irene became news. Before then it was riots in London. The general impression being that violence and mayhem is all that it happening worldwide.
Yesterday evening I sat under a tree in Parnell Street watching people returning from a football match. Near me, on the grass, some young folk were sharing take aways and beer. Groups of people, families, couples, friends, in yellow and green strolled towards the city centre as did similar groups in blue. A passing nine year old in yellow turned jubilant cartwheels.
"Ah Donegal was looky," called one of the young folk. The nine year old, and his family waved before getting into their estate car and driving away. The banter continued as other groups strolled past, then the group on the grass gathered their wrappings and beer cans and continued down the hill. No confrontation, no abuse. It was wonderful.
At the Writers 'Centre Fergal poured me a cup of his special coffee, guaranteed to keep Sleeping Beauty awake for a hundred years. The second floor had been transformed into a 'Poets'Pub. this being the night people came along and shared pieces of their own work. It was a very high standard indeed. First a man sharing his work in progress, a stream of consciousness in polished prose,James Joyce would have enjoyed it; then a young woman poet, followed by a balladeer who read a rant about Dyslexia from his newly published book and sang songs accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica, reminding me of Tony Chad . Another older man also played guitar but he played, as opposed to strumming a beautiful melodic tune. High point for this bracket was not the elderly New Zealander who felt completely out of her depth, but the ordinary looking, auburn haired, middle aged woman who read excerpts from her book about surviving chemotherapy, in Irish. The audience obviously understood her, they listened with that special silence which shows people are engaging with what they hear.
That was the first bracket or performers, two more brackets to come. But it was nearing ten o'├žlock and although Fergal's coffee was keeping my brain spinning my physical body {especially feet in new shoes) kept nudging me and pointing to the clock.
As I tried to sleep I thought, 'Maybe this is what the world is really like? Not the bloodshed and mayhem hyped up by television, but people sharing what they are with each other.' Must have been the caffeine.

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