Irish Poets Quotes

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We survive. We're Irish. We have the souls of poets. We love our misery, we delight in the beauty of strange places and dark places in our hearts.
Eilis Flynn (Wear Black)
Irish poets, learn your trade, sing whatever is well made, scorn the sort now growing up all out of shape from toe to top.
W.B. Yeats
Irish improves a poet.
Sina Queyras (MxT)
What I told you tonight - it isn't my story alone. It belongs to every Irish person living and dead. And every Irish person living and dead belongs to it. And to all the story of Ireland; blood and bones, legends, guns and dreams, Catholics, Protestants, England, horses and poets and lovers.
Frank Delaney (Ireland)
But that (physical attractiveness), as the late great Irish poet and philosopher of beauty John O’Donohue helpfully distinguished, is glamour. I’ve taken his definition as my own, for naming beauty in all its nuance in the moment-to-moment reality of our days: beauty is that in the presence of which we feel more alive.
Krista Tippett (Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living)
DURING THE COURSE of his long and distinguished career, the Irish poet W. B. Yeats often changed his themes, style, and personal philosophy, sometimes leaving behind the audience he had cultivated. When he was upbraided for this confusing constancy of change, he replied: The friends have it I do wrong Whenever I remake my song Should know what issue is at stake. It is myself that I remake.54
James Hollis (Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up)
One learns most when one wanders the world.
Tamuna Tsertsvadze (Notes of Oisin: From an Irish Monk to a Skaldic Poet)
Love your enemies you might, but when the entire country and its people depend on you, you are no longer a man of your own.
Tamuna Tsertsvadze (Notes of Oisin: From an Irish Monk to a Skaldic Poet)
I've learned that, at certain points, even if we're of such different cultures, we can think alike, and understand each other easier than we may expect.
Tamuna Tsertsvadze (Notes of Oisin: From an Irish Monk to a Skaldic Poet)
We Irish are too poetical to be poets; we are a nation of brilliant failures, but we are the greatest talkers since the Greeks.
Oscar Wilde
We're Irish, messed up, superstitious and unorganizable…but, by God, you don't see any poets coming out of Ulster.
Leon Uris
As many old teachings suggest, bringing forth that which is in our nature will save us, while failing to bring forth our genuine nature will doom us. The real risk in this life has always been that of becoming oneself amidst the uncertainties of existence. As an Irish poet once said, 'a false sense of security is the only kind there is.
Michael Meade (Why the World Doesn't End: Tales of Renewal in Times of Loss)
[on the Irish] A race of poets and wordsmiths, my ass.
M. Edward McNally
New gods vanquish the altars of the old, so that they can reign in their full brilliance… This God of yours claims to be the protector of all sufferers yet brings demise to the cultures where He sets foot. He conquers just like all invaders do. Ideological invasion is often far more destructive than actual, physical one.
Tamuna Tsertsvadze (Notes of Oisin: From an Irish Monk to a Skaldic Poet)
Oh, how wondrous our lives are! How everything can change but in a single instant… It is truly a miracle of God. We believe we can control our lives as we want, but in truth, we never know what’s coming up. Hence, all we can do, in the end, is enjoy the moments given, pray, and hope for the better. We must always remember that everything will change, and every moment will pass, so it should be embraced whilst it is still within our grasp.
Tamuna Tsertsvadze (Notes of Oisin: From an Irish Monk to a Skaldic Poet)
Jonathan Swift (November 30, 1667 – October 19, 1745) was an Irish cleric, satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for Whigs then for Tories), and poet, famous for works like Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, The Drapier's Letters, The Battle of the Books, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, although he is less well known for his poetry. Swift published all of his works under pseudonyms — such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, M.B. Drapier — or anonymously. He is also known for being a master of 2 styles of satire; the Horatian and Juvenalian styles. Source: Wikipedia
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels (Signet Classics))
In a dreadful storm that the supposedly wizard De Danann raised up against them, when they attempted to land in Ireland, five of the sons of Milesius, with great numbers of their followers, were lost, their fleet was dispersed and it seemed for a time as if none of them would ever enjoy the Isle of Destiny. Ancient manuscripts preserve the prayer that, it is said, their poet, Amergin, now prayed for them
Seumas MacManus (The Story of the Irish Race: A Popular History of Ireland)
Violence needs a cause and a purpose. Attacking an unarmed fellow? – You’re a coward. Sacrificing the blood of the innocent to gods? – You’re a beast. Saying those sacrifices are different from us? – My foot, we are all human. However, when my family, my country, my people are threatened, it is no longer only about me. When that happens and one does not take arms and pierce the heart of their enemy, again, they are a coward.
Tamuna Tsertsvadze (Notes of Oisin: From an Irish Monk to a Skaldic Poet)
Jewish despair arises from want and can be cured by surfeit. Give a penniless Jew fifty quid and he perks right up. Irish despair is different. Nothing relieves Irish despair. The Irishman’s complaint lies not with his circumstances, which might be rendered brilliant by labour or luck, but with the injustice of existence itself. Death! How could a benevolent Deity gift us with life, only to set such a cruel term upon it? Irish despair knows no remedy. Money doesn’t help. Love fades; fame is fleeting. The only cures are booze and sentiment. That’s why the Irish are such noble drunks and glorious poets. No one sings like the Irish or mourns like them. Why? Because they’re angels imprisoned in vessels of flesh.
Steven Pressfield (Killing Rommel)
I began to watch places with an interest so exact it might have been memory. There was that street corner, with the small newsagent which sold copies of the Irish Independent and honeycomb toffee in summer. I could imagine myself there, a child of nine, buying peppermints and walking back down by the canal, the lock brown and splintered as ever, and boys diving from it. It became a powerful impulse, a slow intense reconstruction of a childhood which had never happened. A fragrance or a trick of light was enough. Or a house I entered which I wanted not just to appreciate but to remember, and then I would begin.
Eavan Boland (Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time)
Better to humour them politely Or to resign very quietly But if you opt to fight like a cat Bear in mind, you could die like a rat
Barry Jacob (The Lockdown Collection)
The man could stop her heart, then send it into full gallop. Just a look at him. They’d been married more than two years, she thought. Shouldn’t that ease off? Where was that in the Marriage Rules? But a man who looked like Roarke broke every rule. That absurdly beautiful face set off with the wild blue eyes of some Irish god, and the perfect poet’s mouth. The black hair, silkier than Summerset’s tone, tied back in work mode. The tall, lean length of him all in black—no tie or suit coat, the sleeves of his shirt rolled to the elbow. So he’d been home, and working, for some time. Yeah, the look of him broke the rules, stopped the heart. But it was that instant, just that instant when those amazing blue eyes met hers that sent it into the gallop. In them lived love. Just that simple, just that extraordinary.
J.D. Robb (Apprentice in Death (In Death, #43))
Irish poet David Whyte, pausing after a complex thought, or a hoary quandary, looking out to the room of devotees who flock to his workshops around the world, and asking, “But what is the more beautiful question?” And we are immediately reminded that there is always a more beautiful question that should be asked. I’ve heard David explain that asking the more beautiful question (invariably the courageous one) delivers us the answer we seek.
Sarah Wilson (This One Wild and Precious Life: A Hopeful Path Forward in a Fractured World)
The first English poet to use rhyme — in his Latin verse — was Aldhelm, in the eighth century, who, it will be noted, was a pupil of the Irish monk, Mael-dubh, whose school was on the site of the present English city of Malmesbury.
Seumas MacManus (The Story of the Irish Race: A Popular History of Ireland)
She had a significant following in Paris, where a group of hashish-eating daredevils, under the leadership of Dr. Louis-Alphonse Cahagnet, had been experimenting with monster doses (ten times the amount typically ingested at the soirees of Le Club des Haschischins) to send the soul on an ecstatic out-of-the-body journey through intrepid spheres. It was via Parisian theosophical contacts that the great Irish poet and future Nobel laureate William Butler Yeats first turned on to hashish. An avid occultist, Yeats much preferred hashish to peyote (the hallucinogenic cactus), which he also sampled. Yeats was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and its literary affiliate, the London-based Rhymers Club, which met in the 1890s. Emulating Le Club des Haschischins, the Rhymers used hashish to seduce the muse and stimulate occult insight.6 Another member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, was a notorious dope fiend and practitioner of the occult arts. Crowley conducted magical experiments while bingeing on morphine, cocaine, peyote, ether, and ganja.
Martin A. Lee (Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana - Medical, Recreational and Scientific)
Much of the Irish landscape is dominated by peat bogs; the anaerobic and acidic conditions in the densely packed earth mean that the past in Ireland can be subject to macabre resurrection. Peat cutters occasionally churn up ancient mandibles, clavicles, or entire cadavers that have been preserved for millennia. The bodies date as far back as the Bronze Age, and often show signs of ritual sacrifice and violent death. These victims, cast out of their communities and buried, have surfaced vividly intact, from their hair to their leathery skin. The poet Seamus Heaney, who harvested peat as a boy on his family’s farm, once described the bogs of Ireland as “a landscape that remembered everything that had happened in and to it.
Patrick Radden Keefe (Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland)
… in these new days and in these new pages a philosophical tradition of the spontaneity of speculation kind has been rekindled on the sacred isle of Éire, regardless of its creative custodian never having been taught how to freely speculate, how to profoundly question, and how to playfully define. Spontaneity of speculation being synonymous with the philosophical-poetic, the philosophical-poetic with the rural philosopher-poet, and by roundelay the rural philosopher-poet thee with the spontaneity of speculation be. And by the way of the rural what may we say? A philosopher-poet of illimitable space we say. Iohannes Scottus Ériugena the metaphor of old salutes you; salutes your lyrical ear and your skilful strumming of the rippling harp. (Source: Hearing in the Write, Canto 19, Ivy-muffled)
Richard McSweeney (Hearing in the Write)
So, there were seaweed people and sky people. In time the seaweed people and the sky people found attraction in each other, and intermarried and became the Irish. That’s the short version. That’s why some of us are always longing for sky and some are of us are longing for the sea, and some, like my father, were both. We’re a race of elsewhere people. That’s what makes us the best saints and the best poets and the best musicians and the world’s worst bankers. That’s why wherever you go you’ll see some of us – and it makes no difference if the place is soft and warm and lovely and there’s not a thing anyone could find wrong with it, there’ll always be what Jimmy the Yank calls A Hankering. It’s in the eyes. The idea of the better home. Some of us have it worse than others. My father had it running in the rivers of him.
Niall Williams (History of the Rain)
The eighteenth-century literary blockbuster Harris’s List (1757–1795) was an annual almanac of London sex workers, and a masterclass in self-promotion. A forerunner to the modern tart card and TripAdvisor, the list detailed the appearance, skills and prices of up to two hundred women selling sex in the capital. The list was a collaboration between Sam Derrick, an Irish Grub Street hack and poet, and a London pimp, Jack Harris. Only nine known volumes of the list survive today (1761, 1764, 1773, 1774, 1779, 1788, 1789, 1790 and 1793), and they are scattered throughout various archives around the world.
Kate Lister
The 1890s were apprentice years for Yeats. Though he played with Indian and Irish mythology, his symbolism really developed later. The decade was for him, as a poet, the years of lyric, of the Rhymers’ Club, of those contemporaries whom he dubbed the ‘tragic generation’. ‘I have known twelve men who killed themselves,’ Arthur Symons looked back from his middle-aged madness, reflecting on the decade of which he was the doyen. The writers and artists of the period lived hectically and recklessly. Ernest Dowson (1867–1900) (one of the best lyricists of them all – ‘I cried for madder music and for stronger wine’) died from consumption at thirty-two; Lionel Johnson (1867–1902), a dipsomaniac, died aged thirty-five from a stroke. John Davidson committed suicide at fifty-two; Oscar Wilde, disgraced and broken by prison and exile, died at forty-six; Aubrey Beardsley died at twenty-six. This is not to mention the minor figures of the Nineties literary scene: William Theodore Peters, actor and poet, who starved to death in Paris; Hubert Crankanthorpe, who threw himself in the Thames; Henry Harland, editor of The Yellow Book, who died of consumption aged forty-three, or Francis Thompson, who fled the Hound of Heaven ‘down the nights and down the days’ and who died of the same disease aged forty-eight. Charles Conder (1868–1909), water-colourist and rococo fan-painter, died in an asylum aged forty-one.
A.N. Wilson (The Victorians)
In Ireland the older and truer conception was never lost sight of. It persisted into Christian times when a Kieran or an Enda or a Colmcille gathered his little group of foster-children (the old word was still used) around him; they were collectively his family, his household, his clann — many sweet and endearing words were used to mark the intimacy of that relationship. It seems to me that there has been nothing nobler in the history of education than this development of the old Irish plan of fosterage under a Christian rule, when to the pagan ideals of strength and truth there were added the Christian ideals of love and humility. And this, remember, was not the education system of an aristocracy, but the education system of a people. It was more democratic than any education system in the world today. Our very divisions into primary, secondary, and university crystallise a snobbishness partly intellectual and partly social. At Clonard, Kieran, the son of a carpenter, sat in the same class as Colmcille, the son of a king. To Clonard or to Aran or to Clonmacnois went every man, rich or poor, prince or peasant, who wanted to sit at Finnian’s or at Enda’s or at Kieran’s feet and to learn of his wisdom. Always it was the personality of the teacher that drew them there. And so it was all through Irish history. A great poet or a great scholar had his foster-children who lived at his house or fared with him through the country. Even long after Kinsale the Munster poets had their little groups of pupils; and the hedge schoolmasters of the nineteenth century were the last repositories of a high tradition.
Pádraic Pearse (The Murder Machine and Other Essays)
In Green Grandeur by Stewart Stafford Under towers of green pillars, Grow those leafed palaces, Stretching out their tall limbs, Up skyward in thanksgiving. Saplings with peacock foliage, A forest floor carpeted thickly, With dead leaves, kindling and, Subterranean roots peeking out. Storm-crooked trunks stooping, To the lightning-shattered bows, Fingers of dying sunlight reach, To caress the ivy-entwined bark. © Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved
Stewart Stafford
Brexit means Brexit In this she was being upfront But her only reward from some Would be a hot knife in her front
Barry Jacob (The Lockdown Collection)
Might not get Easter or Paddy’s Day But Leo says maybe! Who’s he to say Men need their bets, pints and Grubb So Tony, Phil and Ronan let us go to the pub.
Barry Jacob (The Lockdown Collection)
ancient runic systems and the Irish codes of the Book of Ballymote with their exotic names (‘Serpent through the heather’, ‘Vexation of a poet’s heart’), through the codes of Pope Sylvester II and Hildegard von Bingen, through the invention of Alberti’s cipher disk – the first poly-alphabetic cipher – and Cardinal Richelieu’s grilles, all the way down to the machine-generated mysteries of the German Enigma,
Robert Harris (Enigma)
Esperanto is a ‘linguistic handshake,’ a neutral ground where people of different nations can communicate as equals.” Nice idea, but people don’t speak languages for abstract reasons. The Irish feel a strong emotional attachment to the once-persecuted language of their heritage, but despite mandatory school instruction, they don’t speak Irish.
Arika Okrent (In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build a Perfect Language)
In the Hibbert Lectures, Professor Rhys observes, "The Greek myth, which distressed the thoughtful and pious minds, like that of Socrates, was a survival, like the other scandalous tales about the gods, from the time when the ancestors of the Greeks were savages." May it not rather have been derived by Homer, through the trading Phœnicians, from the older mythologies of India and Egypt, with altered names and scenes to suit the poet's day and clime?
James Bonwick (Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions)
In Memory of W. B. Yeats I He disappeared in the dead of winter: The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted, And snow disfigured the public statues; The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day. What instruments we have agree The day of his death was a dark cold day. Far from his illness The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests, The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays; By mourning tongues The death of the poet was kept from his poems. But for him it was his last afternoon as himself, An afternoon of nurses and rumours; The provinces of his body revolted, The squares of his mind were empty, Silence invaded the suburbs, The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers. Now he is scattered among a hundred cities And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections, To find his happiness in another kind of wood And be punished under a foreign code of conscience. The words of a dead man Are modified in the guts of the living. But in the importance and noise of to-morrow When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the bourse, And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly accustomed And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom A few thousand will think of this day As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual. What instruments we have agree The day of his death was a dark cold day. II You were silly like us; your gift survived it all: The parish of rich women, physical decay, Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry. Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still, For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives In the valley of its making where executives Would never want to tamper, flows on south From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs, Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives, A way of happening, a mouth. III Earth, receive an honoured guest: William Yeats is laid to rest. Let the Irish vessel lie Emptied of its poetry. In the nightmare of the dark All the dogs of Europe bark, And the living nations wait, Each sequestered in its hate; Intellectual disgrace Stares from every human face, And the seas of pity lie Locked and frozen in each eye. Follow, poet, follow right To the bottom of the night, With your unconstraining voice Still persuade us to rejoice; With the farming of a verse Make a vineyard of the curse, Sing of human unsuccess In a rapture of distress; In the deserts of the heart Let the healing fountain start, In the prison of his days Teach the free man how to praise.
W.H. Auden
It is difficult for us to realise that in the ancient Irish Schools of Poets the students were trained in not less than three hundred and fifty different kinds of metre.
Seumas MacManus (The Story of the Irish Race: A Popular History of Ireland)
But a poet’s moral attainments were expected to be on the same high level with his intellectual. There were demanded of him: “Purity of hand, bright without wounding. Purity of mouth without poisonous satire, Purity of learning without reproach, Purity of husbandship.
Seumas MacManus (The Story of the Irish Race: A Popular History of Ireland)
Young fops and lordlings of the garrison Kept up by England here to keep us down . . . And doubtless, as they dash along, regard Us who stand outside as a beggarly crew. ’Tis half-past six. Not yet. No, that’s not he. Well, but ’tis pretty, sure, to see them stoop And take the ball, full gallop . . . Polo was still dominated by British cavalry officers, and the stretch called Nine Acres was seen by militant nationalists to be an offensive appropriation of public land—a little enclave of England—as was the cricket ground. Phoenix Park’s statues—the robed figure in the People’s Garden commemorating an earlier lord lieutenant, the Seventh Earl of Carlisle, as well as the bronze equestrian memorial of the war hero Lord Gough—were further reminders of British rule (both demolished by twentieth-century nationalists). Ferguson’s verses, however, express more than national resentment. The poet, later to be worshipped by the young W. B. Yeats, cannot have known about Patrick Egan’s plan for James Carey, and yet, with remarkable insight, he reveals it: “Lord Mayor for life—why not?” Carey muses,
Julie Kavanagh (The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge and the Murders that Stunned an Empire)
Ode To A Spider's Web by Stewart Stafford O to dwell in the skeletal palace, Of the spider's ceiling cobweb and, Spy on all as none can spy on you, An arachnid deity astride the world. Even with many eyes to see things, It's blind to those monstrous features, Nimble, lean legs, as wicked fingers, Weave a webbed masterpiece home. Outdone by his garden cousin's web, With backlit, bejewelled beads of dew, Undulating in a tepid, animating breeze, The house spider is a satisfied squatter. © Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved
Stewart Stafford
In my anger, I begin to sense some project that might answer the nurse's query. Perhaps I'd always known what it was all for. Perhaps I'd stumbled upon my true work. Perhaps the years I'd spent sifting the scattered pieces of this jigsaw were not in vain; perhaps they were a preparation. Perhaps I could honour Eibhlín Dubh's life by building a truer image of her days, gathering every fact we hold to create a kaleidoscope, a spill of distinct moments, fractured but vivid. Once this thought comes to me, my heart grows quick. I could donate my days to finding hers, I tell myself, I could do that, and I will.
Doireann Ní Ghríofa (A Ghost in the Throat)
Association with Blackwood's came at a price, however. Hogg may have been one of the magazine's most recognisable figures, but he had little control over how he himself was represented on its pages. From the outset, Hogg was viewed by Wilson and Blackwood as an object rather than an architect of Blackwood's aggressive self-fashioning. Thomas Richardson points out that Hogg was never permitted to write review articles - an exclusion surely telling of his standing among the magazine's cognoscenti. William Blackwood, for his part, favoured Hogg's 'more predictable contributions, such as the comic ballad', and neither he nor Wilson considered Hogg to have the comportment or expertise to conduct the signal utterances of the magazine. In general, Hogg's function was to inhabit the role of the rustic genius-poet, the 'Ettrick Shepherd' - the residual embodiment of a specifically Tory fantasy of the Scottish peasant class, and a semi-serious, semi-comedic foil to the magazine's modernity and professionalism.
Adrian Hunter (James Hogg: Contributions to English, Irish and American Periodicals)
Douglas Hyde says: “Already, in the seventh century, the Irish not only rhymed but made intricate rhyming metres, when for many centuries after this, the Germanic nations could only alliterate. . . . And down to the first half of the sixteenth century the English poets for the most part exhibited a disregard for the fineness of execution and technique of which not the meanest Irish bard attached to the pettiest chief could have been guilty.” As is only to be expected, the Irish, the inventors of rhyme, carried it to a wonderful perfection, never approached by any other people — a fact acknowledged even by those who still withhold from them the credit of having originated It.
Seumas MacManus (The Story of the Irish Race: A Popular History of Ireland)
She always violate your expectations... she's great poet " Irish Calif " ..
Imran Shaikh
Then he reads a poem by the Irish poet, John O'Donohue, 'For a New Beginning'., urging his student to unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning.
Priya Parker (The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters)
As the Irish poet and philosopher John O'Donohue once wrote, "A book is a path of words which takes a heart in new directions. And that is what I long to show you, how Narnia does that for us all.
Patti Callahan Henry (Once Upon a Wardrobe)
I am a poet and Frank said to me that I couldn’t say certain things, but if I put it in a poem?’ He then agreed to recite his poem aloud for the pair: ‘There is a full force hurricane, storming, circulating, swirling, angry, aggressive and vengeful, around the outside of my head. Yet because of beauty and love and thoughts of you, I remain calm in the eye of the hurricane. And in the bonfiring of my dreams, at that final moment, between the laughter and the tears, at the tumult of my fears, with thoughts of beauty and love and you, I am able to stay as calm as the stilled mill pond.’ Concluding the poem, he said it perfectly captured where he was at that precise moment in time. ‘That is from the heart. I am not acting calmly in a hurricane–I am.’ He acknowledged he was a ‘bit worried about herself’, in reference to his partner, Ms Thomas, who was not participating in the interview but who was painting in her studio just a few metres away. ‘She is a bit shook,’ he said. The poetry dominated coverage of the case over the coming days, most likely as intended. The striking photograph taken by Mark Condren, a multiple winner of the prestigious Irish Press Photographer of the Year Award, dominated the front page the following day. Such was the impact of the image it was reproduced several times over the coming weeks for use with various updates on the Paris trial and verdict.
Ralph Riegel (A Dream of Death: How Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s Dream Became a Nightmare and a West Cork Village Became the Centre of Ireland’s Most Notorious Unsolved Murder)
In a famed battle at Southern Moytura (on the Mayo-Galway border) it was that the Tuatha De Danann met and overthrew the Firbolgs. There has been handed down a poetical account of this great battle — a story that O’Curry says can hardly be less than fourteen hundred years old — which is very interesting, and wherein we get some quaint glimpses of ancient Irish ethics of war (for even in the most highly imaginative tale, the poets and seanachies of all times, unconsciously reflect the manners of their own age, or of ages just passed).
Seumas MacManus (The Story of the Irish Race: A Popular History of Ireland)
A duel may be triggered by a seemingly trivial offence. In 1806, the poet Thomas Moore’s Irish blood boiled following a scathing review of his poems by Francis Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review. He challenged Jeffrey to a duel and bought pistols and ammunition in a Bond Street shop. Fortunately the duel (at Chalk Farm) was stopped by some Bow Street Runners. Moore and Jeffrey were arrested and taken before the Bow Street magistrates, and their guns examined. To Moore’s dismay, it was found that his pistol was loaded but Jeffrey’s was not: the ball had fallen out, probably when the duel was interrupted. A rumour spread that both pistols were unloaded, implying that the duellists were cowards; Moore wrote to the newspapers in an attempt to clear his name. Meanwhile, Lord Byron mocked Moore’s ‘leadless pistol’ in his poem English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809). Moore sent a challenge to Byron but his lordship had gone abroad. The two poets later became great friends.
Sue Wilkes (A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England)
Books of the sages of the ages reflect upon in stages; like honey their words on the tongue give due savour.” {Source: A Green Desert Father}
Richard Mc Sweeney (A Green Desert Father)
The great Irish poet Seamus Heaney wrote that once in a lifetime hope and history can rhyme. Evolution is what happens when history and change are in rhyme.
Sharon Moalem (Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease)
the ancient ordinance which distinguished the various classes and professions by the colours in their dress. A King or Queen might wear seven colours; a poet or Ollam six; a chieftain five; an army leader four; a land-owner three; a rent-payer two; a serf one colour only. Tighernmas
Seumas MacManus (The Story of the Irish Race: A Popular History of Ireland)
As the Irish poet John O’Donohue puts it, “There is a huge and leaden loneliness settling like a frozen winter on so many humans.
Sue Johnson (Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love (The Dr. Sue Johnson Collection Book 1))
Then, the spider will eat it.
Vincent S. Coster (There Are Words)
She was walking into doors again A regular habit so it seems" From the Domestic
Vincent S. Coster (Eat Not My Brother)
Gaelic has had a far bigger and longer run in Scotland than Scots or English. Teutonic speech is still a comparative upstart, and its sweeping victory did not begin till well on in the 17th century. A conscientious Chinaman who contemplated a thesis on the literary history of Scotland would have no doubt as to his procedure, 'I will learn a little Gaelic, and read all I can find about Gaelic literature from the oldest Irish poets down to Ban MacIntyre, and nearly a third of my thesis will be on Gaelic literature', He would be rather mystified when he discovered that historians of Scotland and its literature had known and cared as much about Gaelic literature as about Chinese, and that they had gone on the remarkable assumption that the majority of the Scots were Anglo-Saxons and that their literature began with Thomas the Rhymer, in the reign of Alexander III.
William Power
To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance. —Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Anglo-Irish poet, playwright, and legendary raconteur
Sarah Ban Breathnach (Simple Abundance: 365 Days to a Balanced and Joyful Life)
The fields are harvested and bare, And Winter whistles through the square. October dresses in flame and gold Like a woman afraid of growing old. —Anne Mary Lawler (1908–1980) Irish-American poet and novelist
Sarah Ban Breathnach (Simple Abundance: 365 Days to a Balanced and Joyful Life)
Without artists, would this heritage have descended to us? Would the words and deeds—the revelation—have survived the arduous journey into the present without the painters, the mosaic workers, the storytellers, the stone carvers, the poets, the singers, the workers in stained glass? Wasn’t it art, I thought—as I watched Bernard open a handsome black wallet and remove a handful of lire—that had been the carrier of the divine? Popes had understood that. The Emperor Constantine. Monks in damp Irish monasteries illuminating the Word.
Rachel Pastan (Alena)
Round these men stories tended to group themselves, sometimes deserting more ancient heroes for the purpose. Round poets have they gathered especially, for poetry in Ireland has always been mysteriously connected with magic.
W.B. Yeats (Irish Fairy and Folk Tales)
Our master Caesar is in the tent
 Where the maps are spread,
 His eyes fixed upon nothing, 
A hand under his head. 

Like a long-legged fly upon the stream 
His mind moves upon silence.
W.B. Yeats (Celtic Poets: 47 Irish, Scottish and Welsh Poems)
Our national poet WB Yeats said that every Irish writer had a decision to take: whether to express Ireland or exploit it. In his day, the choice lay between expressing the nation to itself or exploiting it for the amused condescension of a mainly overseas audience. Holding a mirror up to the people was a risky business: many, seeing an unflattering image, were inclined to smash the glass in anger.
Declan Kiberd
Possibly the glimpses of some of these fugitive hill-dwellers and cave-dwellers, caught in twilight and in moonlight, by succeeding generations of Milesians, coupled with the seemingly magical skill which they exercised, gave foundation for the later stories of enchanted folk, fairies, living under the Irish hills. Though, a quaint tale preserved in the ancient Book of Leinster says that after Taillte it was left to Amergin, the Milesian poet and judge, to divide Eirinn between the two races, and that he shrewdly did so with technical justice — giving all above ground to his own people, and all underground to the De Danann! Another
Seumas MacManus (The Story of the Irish Race: A Popular History of Ireland)
Of all the ancient kings of Ireland, Cormac, who reigned in the third century, is unquestionably considered greatest by the poets, the seanachies, and the chroniclers.
Seumas MacManus (The Story of the Irish Race: A Popular History of Ireland)
Of all the great bodies of ancient Irish legendary lore, none other, with the possible exception of the Red Branch cycle, has had such developing, uplifting, and educational effect upon the Irish people, through the ages, as the wonderful body of Fenian tales — in both prose and verse, rich in quality and rich in quantity. Fionn MacCumail (Finn MacCool), leader of the Fian (Fenians), in the time of Cormac MacArt, is the great central figure of these tales. Fionn and the Fian were not figments of the ancient poets’ fancy — as think some who know of this lore only by hearsay. The man Fionn lived and died in the third century of the Christian Era. The Four Masters chronicle his death on the Boyne, under A. D. 283 — though he must have died some years earlier. Fionn’s father Cumal, was chief of the Fian, in his day; and his grandfather, Treun-Mor, chief before that. In contrast to the Red Branch which was of Ulster, the Fian was of Munster and Leinster origin.[19] Connaught with its Clan na Morna contributed largely to the body, later. It
Seumas MacManus (The Story of the Irish Race: A Popular History of Ireland)
DURING THE COURSE of his long and distinguished career, the Irish poet W. B. Yeats often changed his themes, style, and personal philosophy, sometimes leaving behind the audience he had cultivated. When he was upbraided for this confusing constancy of change, he replied: The friends have it I do wrong Whenever I remake my song Should know what issue is at stake. It is myself that I remake. 54
James Hollis (Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up)
The Crowned Snail by Stewart Stafford The vortex-shelled snail, Hermit rider of the dome, Silver trails cross the garden, This green, perennial home. Playing Russian Roulette, With giant feet or wheels, Survivor of stone attacks, Battering rams birds wield. A journey with no beginning, Nor a destination to travel to, Snug in his fortress castle, A crowned king, incognito. © Stewart Stafford, 2023. All rights reserved.
Stewart Stafford
Why not admit that other people are always Organic to the self, that a monologue Is the death of language and that a single lion Is less himself, or alive, than a dog and another dog? With vision but it is vision builds the eye; And in a sense the children kill their parents But do the parents die? And the beloved destroys like fire or water But water sculpts and fire refines And if you are going to read the testaments of cynics You must read between the lines.
Louis MacNeice (Autumn Journal)
The Watery Cosmos by Stewart Stafford O realm of Poseidon, Dura Mater of all hidden - Salty soup of subtle plankton, And breaching whales unbidden. O friendly ocean, Looking glass of sky steep - Shooting stars bioluminescent Whirlpool galaxies of the deep. This savage playground, Cradling hurricane fury, The birthing pool of the living, A submerged mass cemetery. As light fades fast above, So a lunar-dark seabed rears up, Slowly enveloping all and sundry, Surface in a seahorse stirrup. Seeds from the Amazon, Passengers of the Atlantic Conveyor, Nestling on English coasts Gifts of an aquatic purveyor. © Stewart Stafford, 2023. All rights reserved.
Stewart Stafford
The Cycle's Whisper by Stewart Stafford A crisp mountain breeze, Whispers on verdant meadows, In the starlings' murmuration, Bodies flutter as the wind blows. River salmon leap upstream, To the places of their siring, All the tests of life in the flesh, With thrashing bodies expiring. Starving bears lie in wait to Shorten the fading quest, Or a moribund swim home, To a watery boneyard's rest. © Stewart Stafford, 2023. All rights reserved.
Stewart Stafford
A WILD storm of controversy once raged, when Macpherson put forth a work purporting to be a collection of old Gaelic songs, under the name of the "Poems of Ossian," who was the last of the Fenian Chiefs, and who, reported, on his return to Ireland after his enchantment, failed to yield his paganism to St. Patrick's appeals. While generally condemned as the inventor of the lays, the charms of which enthralled even Byron and Goethe, he must surely have been a poet of great merit, if they were of his own composition. But if they were remains of ancient traditions, carried down by word of mouth, Macpherson might at least be credited with weaving them into more or less connected narratives.
James Bonwick (Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions)
Of the Milesians, Eber and Eremon divided the land between them — Eremon getting the Northern half of the Island, and Eber the Southern. The Northeastern corner was accorded to the children of their lost brother, Ir, and the Southwestern corner to their cousin Lughaid, the son of Ith. An oft-told story says that when Eber and Eremon had divided their followers, each taking an equal number of soldiers and an equal number of the men of every craft, there remained a harper and a poet. Drawing lots for these, the harper fell to Eremon and the poet to Eber — which explains why, ever since, the North of Ireland has been celebrated for music, and the South for song.
Seumas MacManus (The Story of the Irish Race: A Popular History of Ireland)
You’re full of keys and clues, crafty in your use of ordinary tools. You were creating from the moment we got here. Poets are formidable spellcasters—and equally skilled at shattering illusions. You’re made to be free from petty manipulations.
Laurie Perez (The Cosmos of Amie Martine (The Amie Series, #3))
The Spinning Year by Stewart Stafford Warm days, leaves of green, Winter's looming touch between, Harvesting in chill of night, Spiders crawl in roused delight. Rearranging the hibernacle, My living quarter tabernacle, To see out the darkened months, Until come Spring's timed shunts. Emerge into a world of change, Earth's mother hand will rearrange, Another tree ring sagely earned, See around a new corner turned. © Stewart Stafford, 2023. All rights reserved.
Stewart Stafford
Stonebridge Forest by Stewart Stafford Woke to accusatory dark clouds, Growling menace of distant storms, The wrecking ball hung lifeless, Sun - blinding me with temporal light. A labyrinthine drive to Stonebridge, Transporting tunes of my pomp, Stopped for a tasty king's breakfast, Simpatico stares from the waitress. The river's alleviating rush past; A silver ribbon pulses in my veins, Positive ions cleanse city toxins, Welcomed to a placid homecoming. Fisherman dangling death downriver, Enthroned on the bank, skimming stones, I tried to top my record each time, Teasing out mysteries in a green maze. © Stewart Stafford, 2023. All rights reserved.
Stewart Stafford
Oscar Wilde, was an Irish poet, brilliant wit and dramatist who was imprisoned for two years for ‘indecency’ and ruined as a result. Oscar uttered his last words in Room 16 of the Hôtel d’Alsace in Saint-Germain-des-Prés on Friday, November 30th, 1900. The wittiest man of his epoch was said to have quipped, ‘My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us must go.’ Sadly, Oscar lost the ‘duel’ and died shortly afterwards.
Roger Macdonald Andrew (Forgive: Finding Inner Peace Through Words of Wisdom)