Saturday, November 7, 2015

Homework for Monday 9 November 2015 and The White Cow of Derrynane!

So the home work for the Monday night 9 November 2015 is to choose a poem by Patrick Kavanagh and a poem by Mary Oliver and bring them to the Monday evening class to critique/ analyse.

Carolann Murphy ;)

Our very own Martin Swords had the opportunity to visit Women's Writing Group and The Poetry Group at Kenmare Arts Centre. Here is a piece written by Martin Swords that was inspired by his visit.

The White Cow of Derrynane

The White Cow stood
Silently watching
The thatch pulled to ground
The ram smash the gable down
The tears and wails of women and childer
The White Cow watched

The White Cow of Derrynane
Stood quiet hearing
The American Wake
The long journey’s start
To Cobh, to New York, one way
The White Cow saw them going

The White Cow of Derrynane
Stood quiet gazing
As the Liberation coach
Rolled roughly past driven
By hopes and well wishes
To a Parliament of promises
The White Cow watched
It return empty

The White Cow of Derrynane
Watched perplexed
A coach of black, feathered, ribboned
A Liberator, liberated
Of earthly toil unfinished
The White Cow heard the wails
The keen tears as before
The White Cow of Derrynane
Stood watching as brother
Ambushed brother both
Thinking to set the White Cow free
The White Cow needs them both
If she is to survive
But they have killed each other
The White Cow knows

The White Cow of Derrynane
Hears of messages
Words and pictures from far away
Places unknown to the White Cow
The young are gone and going
The old cannot manage not
The White Cow nor the messages
The White Cow cannot understand yet
Has seen its like before
And feels a hunger coming
To the White Cows of Derrynane

Martin Swords
Wicklow Writers
Written in Kenmare and Derrynane National Park
Sept 2015

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Upside Down, Rightside Up!

After a 3 month summer break, Wicklow Writers returned to meeting last Monday 14 September from 7.30p.m. at Kilmantin Arts, Bridgestreet, Wicklow. If you are interested in writing, pop down and say hello!

This week the members tried out another idea for a poem's structure. It was to create a poem that you could not only read from start to finish but also from finish to start! An 'upside down, right side up' poem , if you like.
This was J. Ted Voigt's attempt:

Seasons                         by J. Ted Voigt

coming up
Temperatures are 
No longer are
On their branches
Ended with

The idea stemmed from a poem by Chanie Gorkin called 'Worst Day Ever?' that was posted on

Worst Day Ever?               by Chanie Gorkin                
Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don't try to convince me that
There's something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don't last.
And it's not true that
It's all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be attained
Only if one's surroundings are good
It's not true that good exists
I'm sure you can agree that
The reality
My attitude
It's all beyond my control
And you'll never in a million years hear me say
Today was a very good day

Now read it from bottom to top, the other way and see what Chanie really felt about her day. Pretty clever, don't you think? 

On 16 August, Nora Fleming visited Gorey Writers to partake in their meeting. They came up with a group poem where each individual that attended gave one line towards the poem. They then put all the lines together to make one group poem. The poem was entitled "Courttown Woods".

Courttown Woods 
Back in the 50’s going to Courtown
Fishing for crocodiles
Throwing a stick
When I imagine a tree
True happiness can be attained
It brought back happy memories
We are dragons, we are real
Found a place, so good to be here, all enriched by each other’s participation
Each supporting each other, in fresh bed
Today was the worst day ever,
Caught a silver trout
There is something good in everyday
Two roads diverge in yellow wood
In leaves no step had trodden, black
Clears the mind.

by the members of Gorey Writers (that attended their meeting on 16 August 2015) 

Some of the members of Wicklow Writers put a spin on the Group Poem (above) and tried to see if they could rearrange the lines to make another poem.

Give it a try!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Wicklow Arts Festival

Once again, Wicklow Writers will be participating in the Wicklow Arts Festival 2015.

On Saturday 23 May 2015, our very own Ted Voigt will be taking to his type writer at the Abbey Grounds to do his version of the 'Instapoem'. Ted's mission "A poem in an instant written especially for you!"

On Sunday 24 May 2015, Wicklow Writers will be hosting a poetry reading at the Cosmic Garden in the Ecology Centre of Dominican Convent, Wicklow Town. The weather during the past two years has been wonderful and the attendance has been fantastic. So do join us to either recite a poem, tell a story or just to listen.

Other Wicklow Writers news:

Martin Sword' s "Blackbird" was recently published in the ' number 7' e-magazine. It is always good news to be published and get your work out there. Do check out the e- magazine "Spontaneity" for a read.

Next Thursday 7 May 2015 is 'Poetry Day'. Some of the Wicklow Writers will be at the Bridge Cafe in Bray, Co. Wicklow at 2pm to recognise the day. Do come along and meet us on the day.


A few of the Wicklow Writers came up with an Instant Poem of their own just for Ted!

"I Write for Money"

Said Ted 'I'll compose on the spot
Festival poems that are hot!
I'll write them for money
sad, poignant or funny
and I'll hope that you like them a lot!"

Martin Swords


"Line up, come on in!"

Said Ted, "Come along to the Abbey!
I'll be there with me old Olivetee.
With a tappety, tap tap
I'll write you a rap
Or a verse with some style for some money!"

Carolann Murphy

Monday, March 9, 2015

Tonight at Wicklow Writers

There will be no Wicklow Writers next Monday 16 March 2015 due to it being the night before St Patrick's Day. But we will be up and running again on Monday 23 March 2015.
Our homework is to write a poem or short story with the following words:

So tonight we revisited poems we had written in the past, we spoke of Haiku's and listened to some poems that were presented at the meeting.
We re-visited the idea of what makes a poem and what differentiates it from a prose. It was decided it was ok to have different styles of writing but how can the reader differentiate whether it is a poem we are presenting or a short prose? We read two examples from the same author in the group and decided, that even though both were labelled 'poems' one was geared more toward a prose and the other was more of a poem. We differentiated between the two by discussing how the two pieces sounded when read aloud, the rhthym, the words used, the air of mystery presented and the collaboration of the words that allowed you to use your imagination. Where did the piece carry you/ take you, if anywhere?
We did a bit of free writing by once again presenting five random words: BLACK, TOMORROW, ALOT, FAMILY and JEALOUS. We then wrote for a about 15 minutes.
This brought up a conversation on Advent and black bread! Where did it come from? What was it made of? So our task is to research the origins of 'Black Bread' during times of fasting!!


Free Writing Session: 

We sat together as a family. Always at mealtimes. But tonight we all ran for the table when called, as tonight was the night before Advent. Everything had to be eaten tonight. There was never alot but there would be more than what we would be getting tomorrow.
Mammy had made an apple pie. I was always jealous of my older brother, Jack. He always got a fine big slice. He worked now and helped put food on the table. So Mammy always rewarded his efforts with the thickest piece of the pie. 'Eat up now, Jack. You need your energy!' she'd say with a glow in her eyes.
I'd sit patiently waiting for my slice.
Dad's was cut next and left to the side. He always liked his as part of his supper. Just before bed with a cup of tea.
I licked my lips. I watched the knife slice through the soft crust and as Mammy lifted the knife it drooled apple syrup. It dripped slowly from the blade.
I waited for my slice.
She cut her own. A small piece. Always watching her figure. Just a piece to wet her lips - just for the taste.
I was fifth in line i.e. fifth born. So I had to wait until everyone else was served before me. It was never divided equally. You earned your slice, like Jack.
Niamh's slice, she was marrying wealthy!
Tommy's slice, he played rugby!
Bernadette's slice, she was a nun!
Diarmuid's slice, he played GAA!
Then me. I was only 12 and I hadn't done my chores! I watched in anticipation. Mammy handed me a saucer. As she lowered it to my view I raised my hand to take the plate.
Crust! Just the crust! Again!
I huffed into my 'slice'.
'Well if you don't want it...' she said, still holding onto the other side of the saucer. I took the saucer and bent over it, shuffled my bum away from her in my seat and huddled over it.
'It's fine! Thank you!' I huffed.
'Enjoy it!' she said 'It's the black bread tomorrow!'


Monday, January 19, 2015

We Are The Silent

We are the Silent

We are the silent masses
We are the politician’s fools
We are the plain and the ordinary
The hurlers on bar room stools

We are the data fodder
Results in election TV
We are the trendy forecasts
The outcomes they’re waiting to see

The pie-charts on Party tables
The malleable numbers are we
We are the taken for granted
Our opinions assumed to be

Yet silent, we are not unthinking
We see through the hype and the spin
Don’t think for us or make assumptions
We determine who’ll lose or who’ll win.

Our marches and protests don’t matter
We have little to fight with of note
But our numbers, and our secret weapons
Our pencils, and our little vote.

Martin Swords
January 2015
Wicklow Writers

Monday, November 24, 2014

Homework - Less than a 100 word story!

So for homework last week and the week prior we were to try and write a story of less than 100 words! This is my attempt!

Suppose this were my final day. by Ruth Moore

I would like you to know that I loved you. This should go without saying.

I would not want to visit all the places I have ever dreamed of nor would I spend all my money.

We would sit together on the beach. The stones uneven against our bottoms.  The cool breeze blowing in from the sea, allowing our hair to rustle gently. Quietly enjoying the pleasant scent of seaweed in the salty crisp air.

We would work out how you would move forward without me in your life. We both would be certain that you would be ok. 

(99 words excluding the title!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Monday Night Meeting 17 November 2014

At this week's Writers session we spoke about short stories. Our homework from the previous week was to write a short story of 100 words in length. Each of the writers presented their homework. This opened the floor to discussion on what defined a short story. It was agreeable to all that it is one that has the standard beginning, middle and end, that something had to take place to make it a story and that it 'takes a turn'. Other definitions include that the short story has one main theme, it focuses on one plot and possibly has one main character.

We briefly named a few American and Canadian short story writers such as Richard Ford known for his short story ' Rock Springs' and 'Sweethearts', Canadian short story writer Alice Munro, George Saunders short story '10 December' and many of the Irish short story writers such as Brendan Behan and William Trevor.

We are looking forward to attending the Wicklow Library's Seasonal poetry reading night next Wednesday 26 November from 6:30p.m. where the public have been invited to nominate their favourite Christmas poem and present it for reading at the Wicklow Library. Some of the Writers will be there to read some of the poems and read some of their own work on the night.

My favourite and most memorable Christmas poem is 'A Christmas Childhood' by Patrick Kavanagh. I love the part of the light shining through the stacked bale of hay in the barn and how he likens it to a 'hole in heavens gable'.

I look forward to the evening.