Common Ground can be found in overlooked places, where rich land and poor entangle. The farmers of Tempo looked across the valley, past the orderly estates of Brookeborough, to the wild and barren heights of Slieve Beagh and Mullaghfad. Tattenabuddah lies between, a hidden, intricate place, not well suited to large schemes or great plantations of either trees or people. The boundaries here are wide, and each a world in itself.
Once synonymous with the NI countryside, we only have one breeding pair of corncrakes left. Help shape an agricultural policy that helps bring them back by taking action here:
This is a call to petition, on Twitter, by Nature Matters NI, that was tweeted just as I sat down to write for Corncrake Magazine.
Synchronicity or what? Continue reading “What is Common Ground?”
(inspired by Jeremy Henderson’s I ran down the Hill of History)
I stood mesmerized by one painting
It’s a landscape of hills and valleys, water and sky
that took me way back
to the Broadhaven Bay I knew.
There was something else that drew me in;
I stepped nearer to see what it might be.
(after Jeremy Henderson)
Layer on layer upon layer of lustrous paint
Creating striations of wondrous colours:
Indigo, red, green, yellow and Klein Blue
Intertwining with one another so playfully
On the vast virtual loom of the canvas.
The warp and weft of the silken oils create
A virile landscape of verisimilar aquatics
Following the serpentine course of the Lough.
after a Sliabh Beagh Arts sculpture
Hello Crow, how bright the light
That shines in your gimlet eye
Set amongst furls of fine plumage
Illustrated by the glittering voids
Made in the blackened metal plate
By the artist’s sharp, cultured blade.
Out in the meadow in bright sunshine
She explained about “wilding,” about rattle
and field buttercup, about late cutting of grasses
and the importance of time to flower and seed.
How hedgerows and margins encourage life:
how sometimes it is better to do nothing
and just let nature take its course.
Viewed from above, the “Emerald Isle” is indeed very, very green. Unfortunately, from a conservation point of view, the lush, uniform grassland that dominates our 21st-century landscape is the wrong shade of green. Continue reading “Bringing the Meadows Back to Life”
Seeds strewn on eager soil
seem to die into dust
dissipate into air
over the meadows.
Seeds burst open
creeping green stems
stretch advancing out
covering the ground.
The sky is clear tonight;
late frost sparkles the rushes, casting back
the light of distant suns
The moon, full as a silver thruppence,
shines the trackless grass pure white.
No shadow moves but one.
Lopsided loping leather-horn
crouch back, old-woman-wise, she comes.
This is her world, and yet
she does not sleep.
How many men climbed up this field – and saw the land as we do now
How many families joined them – in the settlement upon the brow
A place of safety on a hill – with Druid stones above the rill
That marks the place where once there stood – a Celtic fort