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Why can’t a weed be a flower?

Dandelions. A harbinger of summer.

Aren’t these blooms lovely? Bright yellow wings destined to transform, like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, into fluffy white feathers the softest breeze soon will cast to the four winds.

Blossoms labeled weeds, as if they are repulsive, unwelcome intruders. Shameful blemishes on the perfectly manicured green veneer.

Who made that decision?

Maybe dandelions can never be daisies. Still, I played “he loves me, he loves me not,” plucking each golden talon one by one, forever fearing the answer. Countless garlands made to wrap around my throat, stifling its inner cry. Remembering that tacky ooze from freshly snapped stems, stinging my eyes with their bitter tears.

Pesky, those dandelions. Tenacious. Roots running deep into the earth. Refusing to budge, they seem to say, “You can’t oust me from my home and toss me away with the garbage. I belong here.”

What if we ceded the will to dominate, to vanquish the recalcitrant invaders? Embraced their right to exist, no less valued than our cherished blades of grass.

Doesn’t their sunny disposition cheer up the place?

I say, let them live.

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By the Sea

Alone
By the sea
How can it be
This wondrous display
Is solely for me

Sparkly diamonds
Spray-kiss the sky
As swift moving breakers
Sing God’s lullaby
Gulls page their cohort
Awaiting reply

And still, no passersby

Oh, what pageantry
Flows into me

As I sit
Alone
By the sea

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Pathos

Wow, it has been months since I posted here. I have been very busy with online courses, creative play, visiting friends and family, and enjoying the beautiful spring.

At last, a new composition to share. It is quite short (just over two minutes) but says all I want to say on the matter. I can’t believe it took several months for it to come together, and for me to be able to play it without one mistake. My hands must jump around the keyboard a bit on this one. Arthritis (and memory) seem to be more and more challenging with every passing day. But no excuses!

Please overlook fidelity baubles, if you notice them. I dearly wish I had better recording equipment, but right now this is the best I can do. In any event, I hope you enjoy the tune.

Despite its brevity, it feels complete. Perhaps we can only withstand a modest helping of “Pathos” in our lives these days?

Pathos

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Failure Feels Like…

Okay, folks, so as 2022 began, I started a new venture. A daily drawing journal. The type of drawing I am practicing is intuitive, using black pen (so there can be no erasing or “fixing”), with the goal being the revelation of unconscious feelings or states of being. The drawings are NOT meant to be, or expected to be, works of art! They explore and reflect the psyche; the theory being that whatever we express on paper exactly mirrors our inner experience. Like our bodies, our pictures cannot lie. The old saying comes to mind: images speak louder and more truthfully than words.

So, I have been doing my daily journal and am having great fun with it. Because I allow myself to draw badly, to use stick figures and any other simple forms I need to express. I do not think or use my intellect in any way. This is all just hand to paper, come what may.

In a recent online Art Course called “Art as a Soul Language,” one of the exercises was to draw what failure feels like and then write a poem about it. This is what came from that exercise:

The carrots dangle
Out of reach
The flowers grow and bloom
Taunting me
Magic is in the air
I am trapped in a box
Of my own creation
Wisdom waits
For me to let myself out

I wonder if anyone can relate?

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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

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Uninvited

9/12/2021

Uninvited

You intruded
Pillaged
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

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The Eternal Flame

8.30.21

The Eternal Flame

Remember
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

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Reverence

8/11/2021

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!!)

Reverence

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Ancestral Home

7.31.21

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.