Circle of Life

I have been radio silent for months, but not utterly inactive creatively. This is my latest piano composition. Please overlook as best you can the “crude” recording and my imperfect playing! Arthritis is my charming foil.

Another caveat: This piece has taken me a long time to embrace – both in the playing but also in its conception. This is how the music came to me, and I allowed it to come through without too much critical judgment. It has unusual construction and is dissonant at times, but there is a logic to it, and moments of beauty, I think. I hope you find some enjoyment in the listening. It may not resonate, and that is fine too. Not all sounds are pleasant to the ear and can be an acquired taste – or may never to be one’s cup of tea! So, with that mea culpa, here it is!

Circle of Life





You intruded
Co-opted my bounty

As if entitled
Without shame, or
Acknowledgement of theft

You took without measure
To fill your empty cup
Not understanding the well is within

Do not steal from another’s garden
Plant only your own seeds
Or the harvest’s fruit will be spoiled

Leave me to grow
In peas…peace…please


The Eternal Flame


The Eternal Flame

The Eternal Flame blazes in your heart
If tempted by the darkness
Focus on the Flame

Attention is oxygen fanning evil’s fire
Look elsewhere to quench the inferno
Breathe into the light that beckons
So, the truth can be revealed

Its guiding light erases all error
Wipes the mirror clear
Cleanses the lens of distortion
Burns the dross of ignorance

Focus on The Flame
Travel the straight and narrow
Relinquish your fear
Take the next step, that leap of faith

I am with you in the walking




This composition was originally going to be recorded with the “Organ” feature of my electric piano. But as I completed the piece last week, an idea emerged that the “Strings” feature would better capture the mood I am trying to create. In spite of the limitations of my recording equipment, I hope this piece communicates the emotion of “reverence” I felt while creating it. It is fun to venture into using different sounds because they yield a different experience! (I wish I could have faded out the ending, but my recorder just has on/off!!)



Ancestral Home


Ancestral Home

I grew up in a family that barely acknowledged let alone celebrated its Irish ancestry. Casey and Cronin blood flowed through the branches of my father’s family tree, but my understanding of our heritage was limited to tongue-in-cheek faith in leprechauns and shamrocks, love of beer and potatoes, and devotion to wearing green on St. Paddy’s Day.

Ireland’s culture and history were not part of my education. I did not know that the Irish people spoke their own language prior to British colonization. That they created a unique style of music, art, storytelling, and dance. That their Celtic folk tales, myths, and pagan mysticism predated Christianity. That a potato famine caused millions to starve, die, or emigrate.

Such superficial understanding of my ancestral roots changed after traveling to Ireland when I was a college student.

Upon arrival in Dublin, I remember feeling an uncanny sensation of “home.” It was notable because home was never a physical location for me. My parents lived like nomads, moving the family seven times before I was thirteen. Wherever we lived was where we lived until we lived somewhere else.

This feeling of at-homeness was new. And I experienced it the moment I debarked from the plane. There is no rational explanation, but perhaps one memory from my trip offers a clue.

It was early evening. Cobh (pronounced “Cove”), a small coastal port in County Cork, was our last stop of the day. The winter sun was starting to set so there was little time left to enjoy the view. Stepping off the tour bus we separated ourselves into smaller groups and scuttled along the shoreline.

Despite the boisterous lightheartedness of my cohorts, I felt solitary, quiet, and somewhat wistful. The surrounding jibber-jabber receded from my ears as a pungent fishy smell got tangled in my nose hairs. Brightly colored buoys dotted the sand, like breadcrumbs paving a path to nowhere. A dilapidated wooden boat listed against the ragged rocks. Perched there, I suspect, after losing its wrestling match with an Atlantic temper tantrum.

Dense fog was rolling in. A clammy shroud enveloped me as I peered across the brooding ocean that blended seamlessly with the sky. A heavy weight pressed upon my shoulders. I could not see too far into the distance. Still, I was transfixed by what I saw.

Distinct outlines of a very old ship appeared through the mist. It was sailing away from the shore toward the horizon. The vessel, faintly visible, was as grey as the water and sky. Inexplicably, I “knew” it was transporting people desperate to flee the potato famine of the 1800’s, in search of a better life in America. Goosebumps prickled my skin. I was spellbound. I felt certain my ancestors were aboard that boat!

Were the fairies playing tricks?

Waves of emotion swelled and threatened to capsize me. I turned away from the scene and my companions, trying to hide the torrent about to gush. Without speaking aloud, I admonished myself to get a grip. It was ridiculous to feel these feelings, to think I had seen something real. I choked off the welling tide of tears and focused on my friends.

Luckily, they hadn’t noticed my inner turmoil. Their playful banter continued unabated. Tears quelled, I shrugged off the gloom and joined their fun.

Months later, researching Irish emigration for a term paper, I discovered pictures of “coffin ships” that were used to transport Irish emigrants during The Great Famine. They were called coffins because of the rampant disease and death that plagued the passengers aboard. The images startled me. They were identical to the ship I had seen that day at Cobh!

I don’t know if what I saw was a freak psychic vision or simply spontaneous imagination. But I can say with certainty that the moment forever altered my perception of who I am and where I come from.

Proudly I wear the chains of my forebears, the ties that bind me forever to The Emerald Isle. The Land of Magic, Beauty, Charm, Creativity, Wit, Soul, Struggle, and Privation.

Ireland vibrates within every cell of my being.


The River


The River

Being stuck is an illusion
The river never ceases to move
No obstacle can impede its motion
It’s impossible to stem its flow

The river knows its destination
It requires no guidance from us
Our mental gyrations are merely distraction
From hearing its water fall

Why not jump in?
Relax in the life raft and float
Follow the current wherever it leads
Perhaps, even enjoy the ride!


Writing Contest Feedback


Due to travel, social re-emergence, and relentless contractor intrusions, writing has been dormant the past few weeks. But I want to share the outcome of the Fiction Writing contest I entered a few months ago.

Sadly, I did not make the second round of the contest. But, I received a personal critique from the three judges and was buoyed by their very positive feedback on my storyline, character development, and wit. They also offered good suggestions for improvements to consider.

Perhaps a tiny bit disappointed, I remain interested in writing and will continue onward. Stay tuned….



My friend, Jen, recently passed away. I wanted to talk to her one last time.



Our friendship was new
But our souls connected
You touched my life

Your qualities left their imprint
Humility, Courage, Tenacity
Wit, Grace, Authenticity

I will always remember you

When my sails were torn and tangled
And stormy seas thrashed me about
You threw me a life preserver

Thank you

When we last spoke you said
You don’t have to be cured to be healed
You knew you were healed

That comforts me now

I smile, thinking of you hanging with the angels
Chuckling at our earthly chaos and confusion
Grinning your Cheshire Cat grin

I won’t say goodbye, but farewell
Fare well in your new life, my friend
I pray we meet again one day


Mea Culpa!


To those who read my piece on Freedom yesterday, I want to apologize. I later regretted posting it. The words were true, but the feel was negative, and just because something may be true, it doesn’t have to be thrown out into the world. I recognize the power of words to heal or harm, and I want to uplift not depress my readers! So, the post is trashed and I start anew. If I caused offense to anyone, please forgive me. I was caught up in a moment of despair over the state of play in our country. But I don’t want to be one more person putting negative feelings into the world. A lesson learned…