Saturday 16 September 2017


Feeling are often compared to weather and seasonal cycles- not original anymore,
 but it gets across the idea.
The myth of Demeter and Persephone has compelled us for centuries.

The landscape is winter here
Bare -corpse feet and winter lace
Bare-blackened bark against grey sky
And no pulse

Lover's body does not rouse
Knead, ply, nudge, urge
Nothing stirs
Fire dies

Ashes in mouth
Demeter weeps
The maiden descends
And the Earth sleeps.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2017

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Niall Williams

Have been reading Niall Williams As it is in Heaven .
 Associations that come to mind are Romanticism with a capital R and fantastical like the South American writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
I thought of Bronte's  Wuthering Heights, the film Like Water for Chocolate, and the movie Chocolat

Stephen Griffin falls hopelessly in love with Italian violinist Gabriella Castoldi.

His is a tragic background, having lost his mother and sister to a road traffic accident, and Gabriella cannot get over the disappointments of her childhood; the harsh reprimands of her father and the blight of her dead mother's miscarriages. She is afraid to love.

Most of us are probably afraid to love. And often one or two forays into the forest of Romantic love is enough to send us skidding to firm ground for comfort and security. Only the truly naive or courageous persist. And Stephen is one of those.

He is the quintessential nineteenth century romantic who will give up all, risk penury and starvation in pursuit of the beloved.

Such plights usually are doomed and such love, as Bronte depicts, is of another realm and has no roots to sustain it in this world. But we desperately hope that he will succeed.

In fairy tales he usually does. But this is not fairy tale. Set in the haunting and formidable landscapes of Kerry and Clare,the lovers encounter real problems, real prejudices and social challenges alongside the ubiquitous hags, fairygodmothers et al.

I tried to describe the story to a friend and ended up crying, because it is a book that is about feeling and avoidance of feeling and compromise and dreams and disenchantment and innocence and experience. It takes you into that dreaded forest that you have already escaped from.
And it isn't Hollywood.

You will revisit the places that scare you and you will come out changed.

Thursday 7 September 2017


Your kisses unfold me
Stretch me beyond myself
Like a butterfly
Extended for flight
Or a tablecloth tossed
For better falling
Like a shirt stretched out
For better smoothing
Or a waistband, hairband, elastic band
Expanded for better holding
From flight to fall to smooth holding
Your kisses unfold me

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2017

Wednesday 6 September 2017

GET STARTED- Write a poem

I like these "What is it?" poems.
Think of an object and then, without naming it ,describe it
Or let your mind flow to associations with it and list those...

A symbol

What is it that smells of Shiraz,oak-barrelled?
On George's Day in Spain he gives her one?

Touched , it will darken, wafer-thin, and fall?
It is sick, Blake says, and worm-eaten?

It is red-love, blood-love, young-love
Before the worm whitens?

It is harvest love, Lughnasa love, mad love
Before the leaf falls?

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2017

Friday 1 September 2017


A number of years ago I did a weekend course in Shamanism at Dunderry Park with Martin Duffy.
I remember it as an imaginative , interesting experience and I wrote a few poems.

The Shaman

You watch from the shadows of your eyes
Your wounded vision stretching
Like the buffalo skin of your drum
Beyond our remembering.

Tuned to the rhythm of the Earth's heartbeat
You ride your drum steed
To Upper, Middle and Lower
Reaches, searching for lost souls.

By quartz and candle-light
On fox tail and raven's wing
You bring them back
And bring us home.