Thursday, January 31, 2008

Where I am From ......

I am from the white, iron bed with the horsehair mattress, the sucked woollen blanket and the interminable rocking of the unfathomable, tortured spirit in the small, front bedroom.

I am from ice on the insides of windows in winter, deep-red, summer roses and strawberries in the long, green garden. From cold, marble halls and mesmerising fires. From transient, pencilled masterpieces on 1950's fireplaces and fervent intonations of the Rosary on bended knees. From porridge-making rituals and greed-inducing butterfly buns. From fine bone china, good rooms and curious, black-clad creatures of God, who demanded kisses.

I am from the rhythmic sound of a push-mower, cats yowling, and self-imposed silence.

I am from creeper-clad walls, eternally occupied trees, tearaway horses masquerading as concrete dividers. From Goody's Lane, swampy fields, forbidden orchards and a broken-arm trophy. From envious gazing, over garden walls, through shining windows at newly acquired black and white televisions. From apprehension as a constant, daily companion.

I am from the salt of the earth and the animal healers, the strong women and the silent men. The duty-bound. The drinkers. The disappointed.
From Annie and Aidan, O'Rourkes and Walshes, Drakes and Shepherds.

I am from the disillusioned and the masters of under-carpet sweeping. From the kindly and hard working, from the happy and sad, from the optimists and the pessimists.

From birdies and fondies, doanie and yaya, goodie and bumbows.

I am from crucifixes and sacred hearts, novenas and litanies of the saints. Heaven and Hell. Purgatory and Limbo.

I am from the small, green island. Awash with holy men, scholars and hypocrites.
From rhubarb and custard, brown bread and tea, shepherd's pie and glasses of milk.

I am from the struggling angel who lost the battle to endure her torment.
I am from the handsome, big eared lover, who stole her heart and then was careless.

I am from mismatched, mixed-up mortals who loved to the best of their ability, sometimes overwhelmed by their journey. I am from the grateful place.

I am from a place of sunshine, with unspoken love and loyalty.

I am also from a dark place that caused pain.

From this dark and light place, I am who I am.


molly said...

You took me, with this, from sadness to laughter and back again to sadness.You made me want to go back in time and be a better big sister and hold your little hand and protect you from demons I didn't even know were there.

I wish I'd known them better,angel Annie and big eared Aidan, whose sepia wedding picture hangs on my wall. I didn't really know them at all.

Maybe we are all, to a greater or lesser extent,"mismatched, mixed-up mortals."

You took my "island of saints and scholars" a step further, into the realm of reality, with your addition of "and hypocrites."

Mine is different from yours because you are the deeper thinker, and I shy away from the dark stuff....

This could be the outline of a book---a book I'd love to read; a book I'd help you write except I'm not qualified....

I'm glad you finally did it---I knew yours would be good.

Jess said... amazing. Thank you for letting us read your story.

Lee said...

Nicely written, sad and whimsical. But don't forget to stake a claim on the future 'you' as well. The past is a part, but not the whole, of the story.

meggie said...

Very touching, somewhat painful. Thankyou for sharing. The spark of recognition burns.
A completely different life, on the other side of the world... but much of the same growing pains.

Teresa said...

What beautiful writing, with so many sad stories, and just a couple happy ones, tucked between between the words.

Ian Lidster said...

Only the Irish could put such poetry into simple and homely facts and make them seem so utterly alluring. It's one of the reasons I love the Irish. They took the language of a foreign invader and turned it on the bastards by giving it a tonality that most English writers could only dream of. Beautifully, beautifully expressed.
I still cannot make it through Finnegan's Wake, however.

Pauline said...

of all those places (this is so beautifully written!), being from the grateful place is probably what serves you best.

riseoutofme said...

Molly ... Not a deeper thinker! Just more cynical.

daysgoby ... hello! And thank you.

lee ... As I try hard to just live in the present the future me is of little interest ... I am content with my past and, for the most part, with my present .. What more could I ask for?

meggie ...isn't it a small world really ... made even smaller by the "recognitions" all humans experience?

teresa ... hello! Thank you for visiting! Not all the stories are sad ... there are some bould, brazen, tearaway tales there too! I must get cracking on them!

ian ... thank you ... I personally will never forgive the English for trying to stamp out the native Irish tongue ... but we're getting our own back ... Its now one of the official languages of the EU!

pauline ... it took me a long time to find the grateful place and when I did, the jigsaw just seemed to fall into place.

Molly said...

You have written a haunting picture of where you are from. I do not feel that brave or maybe even that honest.

Tanya Brown said...

You are an intriguing person. When I read your posts, I always get the sense that there's more there, just a bit out of sight.

Rob Windstrel Watson said...

A beautifully written personal history that told us so much about your life but also about your talent for writing which is fine indeed.

I look forward to coming back often and enjoying much more of your work.

whimsical brainpan said...

Excellent post!

Stomper Girl said...

That was most beautiful.

Birdydownunder said...

Today is what we are whether we like it or not. Yesterday was learning and tomorrow is improving. Love you writings.
oh and don't hold it against this poor Sassencach.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

This was so beautiful! I also loved Molly's, and reading the remembered childhood impressions of two sisters reminded me of how very different my experience of my family was from my brother's.

The overall image here for me is of loneliness and confusion, but perhaps that is simply me again, recalling how childhood felt.

Nobody ever explains childhood to children, but they should.

I stand with Ian in his praises of the Irish. I have always believed that you are the most eloquent of all English-speaking people.

My great nephew, visiting from County Wicklow in December, taught me to say "Kiss my ass" in Gaelic. It's the only thing I know how to say in that amazing language, but it's a start.

riseoutofme said...

mjd ... I'm not sure that bravery comes into it for me ... honesty, yes ... there is such freedom in honesty.

tanya ... funny you should say that my youth I always wanted to be one of the "pale and interesting" people! But with a rebellious, impatient nature and a touch of red in my hair, I never quite achieved the desired effect!

rob ... hello and thank you for your kind words.

whim ... thank you.

stomper ... you know when I was throwing this around in my head, you and your boys used to come to mind regularly ... how to love your kids to bits! Keep on doing it!

birdy ... I would NEVER hold it against you ... sure you weren't even around then. Or were you?

Hearts ... I'm sure Molly and myself could have you fluent by the summer with a little work!

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

I can't believe that I entered at this post. I was just doing my own reminiscing and figuring.

This is poetry.
Memories draped in mists of melancholy and washed with light of acceptance.

Thank you so much for taking us there.

Birdydownunder said...

ah Rise me darling....... was I around, but more interesting was I a Sassencach then.
Happy Saint Patricks Day.

and may the force be with you. Peacefully Persistant Birdy hugs

Susan Kane said...

I am over from Molly, who has challenged me to write a similar post, here on 31 Jan. 2013. Loved the rhythm and imagery. Almost like a trip to Ireland and will have to do for a bit longer.