Sunday 28 February 2010



'TWAS on a lofty vase's side,
Where China's gayest art had dy'd
The azure flowers that blow;
Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima reclin'd,
Gaz'd on the lake below.

Her conscious tail her joy declar'd;
The fair round face, the snowy beard,
The velvet of her paws,
Her coat, that with the tortoise vies,
Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes,
She saw, and purr'd applause.

Still had she gaz'd; but midst the tide
Two beauteous forms were seen to glide,
The Genii of the stream;
Their scaly armour's Tyrian hue,
Through richest purple, to the view,
Betray'd a golden gleam.

The hapless Nymph with wonder saw:
A whisker first, and then a claw,
With many an ardent wish,
She stretch'd, in vain, to reach the prize.
What female heart can gold despise?
What cat's averse to fish?

Presumptuous Maid! with looks intent
Again she stretch'd, again she bent,
Nor knew the gulph between;
(Malignant Fate sat by, and smil'd.)
The slippery verge her feet beguil'd;
She tumbled headlong in.

Eight times emerging from the flood,
She mew'd to every watery God,
Some speedy aid to send.
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stir'd:
Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard.
A favourite has no friend.

From hence, ye beauties, undeceiv'd,
Know, one false step is ne'er retriev'd,
And be with caution bold.
Not all that tempts your wandering eyes
And heedless hearts, is lawful prize;
Nor all, that glisters, gold.

Thomas Gray

Wednesday 24 February 2010



The recent public apology by golfer Tiger Woods for his extra marital affairs was a sober and carefully thought out response to both his fans and family for having let them down by his irresponsible behaviour over the last couple of years. The most striking thing he said was in my opinion the following, “ I stopped living according to my core values. I knew what I was doing was wrong but thought only about myself and thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to, I felt I was entitled. I had worked hard. Money and fame made me believe I was entitled. I was wrong and foolish. I don’t get to live by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me “ Here Woods gets to the core of not just his own indiscretions but to a universal truth regarding our own attempts to rationalise wrongdoing, our sense of ‘entitlement’ for whatever reason to say that the rules do not apply to us. In his case fame and wealth put him beyond the normal constraints, until too late he realised that they actually didn’t. His betrayal was of his wife, his children and the larger body of people who admired not just his extraordinary golfing ability but their perceived notion of his personality and demeanour. Woods had been living a lie and at last he was found out, and in fairness did the honourable thing and abjectly apologised for his gross conduct.

On the larger canvas of our lives there is a responsibility just as onerous as family and friends, to our Creator that is seldom addressed in our secular age. We haven’t arrived on this planet just as a random collection of atoms accountable to nobody but ourselves and those who serve our self-interest. No, we were created by God Himself and wonderfully formed (Psalm 139:13) according to His Divine plan. We were created to live according to Divine laws and principles because we are moral beings and have an inner compass that helps us to distinguish right from wrong. Not only do we have a responsibility to our instinctual sense of morality but the Creator has also left us a body of written commands in the Bible that serve to enlighten our path as we seek to live a full and happy life. In fact the Word is described in many places in the Old Testament as a light for our path (Psalm 119:105 ) indicating that it illuminates our way, giving a Divine perspective on the myriad of moral choices that face all of us on our life’s journey . This might sound like so much poppycock to the enlightened 21st century mind or as a throwback to a time in our ‘religious’ past where constraints were set on almost every pleasurable activity by a group of male enforcers who seemed determined to squeeze every drop of joy out of day to day living. This view of religion is widespread and in certain circumstances (particularly in the Ireland of the 40‘s and 50‘s) not unjustified, but apart from denominational rules for their members , God’s Law is something entirely different and has a relevance for every single person created in the Divine image.

So we return to Tiger Woods comments about his sense of entitlement to break the rules, a view that many might plead in their lack of compliance to the higher law of God. This is the age of ‘entitlement’ and self-assertiveness, a time when everyone seems to be screaming for their rights and entitlements often without regard to personal responsibility and due compliance. Of course we are endowed with rights and every human person deserves basic human rights like food, shelter, love etc,. and we all should strenuously work to ensure that the weakest in our society enjoy these conditions, but we are also responsible to respond in obedience to that higher law that emanates from our Creator. When our sense of ‘entitlement’ obscures our need to bow before that higher Power then like Tiger Woods we have lost a proper perspective on life and our place in the scheme of things. Time after time the Jewish people walked away from their Divine accountability and lived without reference to the God who had chosen them and delivered them out of slavery in Egypt, and as a consequence reaped a bitter harvest. We, no less can walk away from our responsibility to live in harmony with those Laws which God set in place from the very foundation of the world. Jesus spoke of the immutability of that law when He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” ( Matthew 5:17 ) Jesus, as the only man who ever totally complied with God’s law is reminding us of the importance that these ancient precepts had in His day and hold for all time, surely our incentive to be more diligent in the study and observance of them without equivocation. As Tiger Woods stood before the world’s press and expressed contrition for his neglect of family and social responsibilities, perhaps it is time for us to bow before God and confess our neglect of His laws and precepts. The stakes for many are far higher than family and professional fees, if Gods word is to be believed our eternal future may be on the line.
Gerard O'Shea

Tuesday 23 February 2010


When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask; But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."
John Milton

Friday 19 February 2010



What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honour at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:31~38

Tuesday 16 February 2010


Aidan (left) in earnest conversation with Tony Carey after breakfast
at Ardhu on a glorious morning in May 2005.

It's just about two years ago (February 19 th.) since my good friend Aidan left this world, suddenly and unexpectedly. He was a true friend and brother who soldiered with me along the pilgrim path as we tentatively stepped out along that Gospel road. Aidan’s inspiration was his complete accessibility and generosity , and he was one of the few people I knew who always seemed to have time to meet or chat on the phone. When many Christians withdrew to their domestic isolation after the meetings, Aidan’s house was known by all and his door remained open to all. Meeting him always ensured that some substantial matter would be discussed, he was not the one for idle chit-chat and inevitably he would pepper his comments with relevant pieces of Scripture, and refer to some article or book that had impressed him. Religious cant and cliché left him cold and when confronted by it he would simply smile knowingly, diffusing the ardour of the speaker (often I confess, myself !) He had the ability to genuinely seek the kingdom of God while remaining absolutely real and human, it was this character trait more than anything else I reckon, that endeared Aidan to so many.
His generosity of spirit was matched by his readiness to share what he had with those needed it, always done quietly and without any fanfare.Remembering my friend today I have only scraped the surface of the deep and profound impact he made on me and others and I know that his family at this time are remembering their lovely brother and the pain of his untimely passing.
My last conversation with Aidan was on the phone just hours before he died . I had been calling him throughout that day and getting no answer and when he returned my call that evening I was driving home. We had a brief chat, I thought he sounded distracted but put it down to the fact that he had a visitor with him in the house. I continued my journey planning to call him later, I didn’t, that is my regret. That deep sonorous voice so reassuring in its measured delivery is silent now and I would give anything to hear it again. If there’s singing in heaven, I’m not so sure Aidan will make the choir but if there’s a corner in glory where the saints gather to talk, I’ve no doubt that he’ll be there, declaring the wonder of seeing His Lord face to face.
Gerard O'Shea

Monday 15 February 2010


That money talks
I wont deny
I heard it once,
It said, 'Goodbye'
Richard Armour

Sunday 14 February 2010


As I have been away from the old Blogging post for 24 hours Valentine's Day
almost escaped 'Dew' comment. So belatedly and tongue firmly in cheek
here is my nod to Cupid's busiest day !
Cabbage always has a heart;
Green beans string along.
You're such a Tomato,
Will you Peas to me belong?
You've been the Apple of my eye,
You know how much I care;
So Lettuce get together,
We'd make a perfect Pear.
Now, something's sure to Turnip,
To prove you can't be Beet;
So, if you Carrot all for me
Let's let our tulips meet.
Don't Squash my hopes and dreams now,
Bee my Honey, dear;
Or tears will fill Potato's eyes,
While Sweet Corn lends an ear.
I'll Cauliflower shop and say
Your dreams are Parsley mine.
I'll work and share my Celery,
So be my Valentine.
Author Unknown

Wednesday 10 February 2010



Dear Dad,

Coll€g€ is r€ally gr€at. I am making lots of fri€nds and working hard. I can’t think of anything I n€€d, so if you lik€, you can just s€nd me a card, as I would lov€ to h€ar from you.
Lov€ , Your Son

A week later....the response from Dad arrived:

Dear Son,
I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmics and oceaNOgraghy are eNOugh to keep even an hoNOr student busy. Do NOt forget that the pursuit of kNOwledge is a NOble task and you can never study eNOugh.
Love, Dad.

Tuesday 9 February 2010


Today is the first anniversary of the death of my uncle,
Frank Phillips. To mark the occasion we set up this
garden ornament 'bike' outside his old apartment
at Villiers Square to celebrate his cycling prowess.
A year of days has free-wheeled by
Since your sharp and sudden departure,
Twelve months of afternoon jaunts
Through your beloved Ballycannon
And weeks of peddling to Ardnacrusha
Past Considenes and Bertie Boyles and Barrys ,
And past the golden cottage,
Where years ago you spent paraffin-lit nights
Poring over ancient tales of romance and adventure.
An entire year since you rode out of our fractured lives
That last great expedition
When, despite every impulse of your being
You were ushered away to some other realm.
We met today to remember
A great life lived long and well ,
Our heads and hearts clanging with memories
Of precious days listening to your soft voice,
Regaling us with stories of our past
And keeping us abreast of every present moment.
Your wit and sharp tongue
Kept us on our toes
As you filled our lives with soul and wonder,
And filled our prosaic days
With poems rich and waving.
We salute you uncle Frank
As you still spin about us,
Roaring over mountain moors
Spreading your net far and wide
To catch the semblance of a dream.
We were all caught in your net
Mesmerised by your hold on life
Until at last it loosened,
And in the silence of that hospital night
You left us with the harvest grain
Of rich warm memories.
Gerard O'Shea

Friday 5 February 2010


Time is too slow for those who wait

Too swift for those who fear

Too long for those who grieve

Too short for those who rejoice

But, for those who love –
Time is eternity.

Wednesday 3 February 2010


A concerned citizen asked his local Senator about his attitude towards whiskey. He received the following reply :

'If you mean the demon drink that poisons the mind, pollutes the body, desecrates family life, and inflames sinners, then I'm against it. But if you mean the elixir of a New Year toast, the shield against winter chill, the taxable potion that puts needed funds into public coffers to comfort little sick children, then I'm for it. This is my position, and I will not compromise.'

Monday 1 February 2010


"Spring has returned. The earth is
like a child that knows poems."

Rainer Maria Rilke
This is the first day of Spring as the days extend a little and the early stirrings of life peer above the earth. The snowdrop is among the first of the harbingers of this season of growth and renewal, when nature throws off at last the icy tentacles of winter and sap and bud arise to signal the continuity of the earthly cycle. Even I am expectant that a few scattered daffodil bulbs around the garden may surprise me by an appearance and of course the hedgerow and trees will soon be vigorously stretching forth as the warmth returns from the strengthening sun. By the way, I am writing this as a -3 frost grips the night outside so this piece is an act of faith as much as anything else. Already though there is a lengthening of daylight and all the omens are pointing in the right direction.
Recently I enjoyed an evening with a friend who is facing a prolonged medical procedure over the next few months. He told me that he has drawn a scowley face on the date for the commencement of the treatment and a big smiley for the last day of the procedure. He is marking both days as significant dates and I’m sure he will be counting the days in between, sometimes when we don’t have such a pressing arrangement time just seems to fritter away almost without our knowing. So its good to mark the onset of Spring and be on the lookout for the signs of the earth stirring and the subtle beginnings of this time of hope and optimism. As I wish for my friend I wish for myself and anyone reading this ,that we will be mindful to number our days and take the time to leave the ‘rat-race’ and consider the wonderful world around us.
Gerard O'Shea