There used be an old British Telecom Ad and the strapline was: “It’s good to talk!” Now I am aware that British Telecom were about selling the art of talking and in a sense playing to what for most of us is a natural part of life and existance. I suppose in that sense it was an easy sell. Those of you that have been brave enough to read my previous Blogs will realise that I put great value on communication in all of its myriad forms. Communication rather than money makes the world go round. Look no further than the success of texting, blogging, email, mobile technology and you will quickly come to the conclusion that we do like to stay in touch.

I am reading and re-reading a book about the Tyrone Gaeltacht (Irish speaking region). It is really a series of mini-stories about the last native Irish speakers in that region. Many factors contributed to the decline and disappearance of the native tongue-an oppressive National School system, emigration, widespread intolerance plus a range of other influences all of which took their toll until the native speakers  became fewer and fewer in number and disappeared completely in the 1950’s. The thing that struck me more than any other factor though was that the final blow for the language in that region was that the last remaining speakers of Irish were so scattered throughout the Tyrone countryside that in the end they never got a chance to communicate to one another in their mother tongue ever. Without communication the language died. A language is the soul of any nation and without language communities die. Without language we have no collective soul. Without language the fundamental relationships that underpin life and underscore who we really are die.

For life, for survival, for forgiveness, for wealth, for success, for happiness, for love, for well-being there must be communication. Talk to somebody today. It might just be that sliding door moment. You might just change somebody’s life. You might even save a life.

About two years ago I was delayed at an airport in the USA and feeling bored I picked up a best seller; one of those books that was high on the success of a recommendation on the Oprah Winfrey show. It was ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven’, by Mitch Albom and I read it faster than I ever read any book before. It’s an easy read but it’s deep. One of the central themes relates to the connection between seemingly random or unnoticed events in our daily lives and how such events or other often seemingly minor deeds can unknowingly seriously impact on the fate and lives of others. Yep…speak to somebody today. As you make your way home or wander through the shops or go to the football or do whatever it is that you do at the weekend, speak to somebody…somebody out there needs you…that’s  for sure…

So my way of communicating today will once again reside in a couple of poems that I wrote over the last few years. There is no doubt that they are personal and in a sense reflect what I want to say this wet Friday evening. Both poems contain some anger and some frustration and both are  laced with a generous dash of desperation but both I believe contain a message of hope… even if that seems a tad elusive on first reading.

One is about my own emotions and is essentially a weave of some personal feelings and my love of nature; the other is an anti-war statement and an expression of the feelings that consume me as I listen each day to the news and learn of the new casualties of conflict on all sides the world over. Once again, I hope that you enjoy!

A Random Day in February

The hard, cold, unyielding landscape

Of a perverse beauty,

That radiates, yet gives begrudgingly,

Beauteous to behold

Cold to warm, cold to colder

She rips the very heart

From within

The giving soul

That gazes in awe of

What she does and doesn’t offer.

Pebbles, occasionally a strange and hastily hewn rock

But mostly random grains of

Glittering sand

She casts upon the nearby forlorn shore;

And yet the incessant longing is for more.

What drives desire?

Remains the searing question

Posed by every single and gentle contour of her form

The rare needle of sunlight

That reluctantly dazzles in parsimonious majesty

Giving way to just occasional hope

Consuming the body of the ever watchful sentinel

Of her soul.


Glorious to die for one’s country

My ass,

Brave, yes

I met death in an Alpine pass

The fighting done

Heart set on home,

An inglorious end in an Alpine pass,

Brave, yes,

Glorious, my ass!

They can wear with pride their flowers red,

A medal, a row of them,

Gold, bronze, silver,

A ribbon,

A heart of purple

What use to me, as I am dead in an

Alpine Pass

Yeah, my ass.