Thursday, 24 February 2011


Tom Mc Carthy


Spent another highly enjoyable evening in the company of poets at the White House last evening. There were several highlights at the open mic (where anyone with a poem can perform) and later as Joe Healy from Kilmeedy read as the guest poet. Healy’s poetry and indeed demeanour reminded me of John McGahern and his work references many rural themes such as Pattern Days, working on the land and the GAA. Evelyn Casey read a very moving poem about an elderly neighbour who had recently died and new talent Edward O’Dwyer gave us a stunning piece about the poem itself.

As always the master of ceremonies, originator and human engine driving proceedings along was the indefatigable Barney Sheehan who introduced each reader and mingled among the large audience welcoming one and all. Tom McCarthy is a stalwart of the Wednesday night gathering and he passed around a verse, written some years ago but still relevant today. As this country goes to the polls tomorrow to vote in a General Election it seems appropriate to print Tom’s poem here …

Promises promises from men without Clout,
The same old story without a doubt.
Canvass for me and I’ll fill you with booze,
With tax-payers money I have nothing o loose.

Posters and leaflets of faceless men,
They’ll sell their souls for a vote to get in.
With tax-payers money they’ll pay for the print,
No stamina, no power just a hundred yard sprint.

When the ballots are counted amid the roars and the cheers,
You wont see them again for another five years.

Saturday, 19 February 2011


Aidan with his sister Phyllis

Aidan is in there somewhere,
front right is my guess !

Today is the third anniversary of the death of my dear friend Aidan Power. At mid-day a few of us will meet at his grave in the Quakers cemetery at Punches Cross, to mark the day and remember an extraordinary man. Tall in physical appearance and big of heart Aidan strove to live in harmony with his understanding of the New Testament and in that generous spirit touched many other lives. His passing was tragic for those of us left behind, though the assurance is that his troubled spirit has found its longed for peace at last. These are some photographs that Aidan’s brother Philip sent me recently…
~ GOSh.~

With his beloved brother Paddy
for more blogs on Aidan use the SEARCH box on this page
PS. Since publishing this blog Philip has pointed out to me that he in fact is the child I identified as Aidan
while the man himself is the child behind, shying away from the camera.

Thursday, 17 February 2011



The first book that I remember reading was ‘The Coral Island’ by J.M.Ballantyne a classic adventure story of three cabin boys, Ralph, Jack and Peterkin who were washed up on a beautiful Polynesian island, the sole survivors of a shipwreck. I devoured the book and its colourful descriptions of the tropical island, following their idyllic lifestyle as they fished in the pools and discovered marvels of nature. I think I must have been about 12 years old and in my imagination I ran alongside the three lads and shared in their wonderment at this new and vibrant world of wild animals, luscious yams and bathing under crystal waterfalls ! The only possessions they retained were a broken telescope, an iron-bound oar and a small axe with which they managed to build a shelter and construct a small boat. The book was written before Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’ and is said to have inspired William Golding’s later and darker novel ‘Lord of the Flies’. Of course not everything remained carefree and jolly for the boys as they had to deal with mad cannibals and blood thirsty pirates, but in all those trials I was at their side living each hair-raising moment from page to page ! Ralph Rover narrates the tale and I still thrill as I re- read the opening lines -" Roving has always been, and still is, my ruling passion, the joy of my heart, the very sunshine of my existence. In childhood, in boyhood, and in man's estate, I have been a rover; not a mere
rambler among the woody glens and upon the hill-tops of my own
native land, but an enthusiastic rover throughout the length and
breadth of the wide wide world…It was a wild, black night of howling storm, the night in which I was born on the foaming bosom of the broad Atlantic Ocean. My father was a sea-captain; my grandfather was a sea-captain; my great-grandfather had been a marine…Thus it was, I suppose, that I came to inherit a roving disposition." Those words bring me back to a draughty bedroom, lying under a mountain of blankets with just my head visible and cold hands clutching ‘The Coral Island’ while my child’s imagination basked in sunny climes and the exotic adventures of my three pals, Ralph, Jack and Peterkin..

Gerard O'Shea

Monday, 14 February 2011

Leo Tolstoy


Leo Tolstoy took a radical position when it came to living out the teachings of Jesus and sometimes his eccentric personality led to glaring contradictions between his avowed principles and his actual lifestyle. However he certainly endeavoured to improve the lot of the peasant tenants on his land based largely on the precepts enshrined in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Tolstoy published ‘The Gospel In Brief’ in 1893 and it he summarises what he regards as the essence of Christ’s life and teachings in the Gospels. The book though not widely circulated has been very influential especially for the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein who extolled, “ This book virtually kept me alive. If you are not acquainted with it, then you cannot imagine what an effect it can have upon a person,” Here is a brief excerpt from it and I hope in future blogs to print further pieces from what is a very powerful book.~ GOSh ~

The satisfaction of the personal will leads to death; the satisfaction of the Father's will gives true life.

AND Jesus rejoiced in the power of the spirit and said: I acknowledge the spirit of the Father, the source of everything in heaven and earth, who has revealed what was hidden from the wise and learned to the simple, because they acknowledge themselves sons of the Father.
All who are concerned for the happiness of the body have put on a yoke not made for them, and have harnessed themselves to a load they cannot draw.
Understand my teaching and follow it and you shall have peace and joy in life. I give you another yoke and another load-the spiritual life. Yoke yourselves to this, and you shall learn from me peace and happiness.
Be tranquil and meek-hearted and you will find blessedness in your life.
For my teaching is a yoke made for you, and to obey my teaching is to have a light load with a yoke suited to you.
Once when he was asked whether he wished to eat, he replied: I have food you do not know of They thought someone had brought him food, but he said: My food is to do the will of Him who gave me life and to accomplish what he has entrusted to me. Do not say: There is still time, as a farmer says while waiting for the harvest. He who fulfils the will of the Father is always satisfied and knows neither hunger nor thirst. The fulfilment of the will of God always satisfies and is always a reward in itself. You must not say: 'I will do the will of God later.' While you have life you always can and should do the will of the Father. Our life is a field God has sown, and our business is to gather its fruits.
If we gather its fruits we receive the reward of a life beyond time. We do not give ourselves life, someone else gives it us. And if we labour to gather in life, then like harvestmen, we receive a reward. I teach you to gather in this life which the Father gives you.

Leo Tolstoy

Sunday, 13 February 2011



The King James Version is the venerable granddaddy of Bible translations stretching all the way back to 1611. As part of the 400 th. Anniversary celebrations this drama/documentary, KJV ~ The Making of the King James Bible traces the origin of an historical project. This is a swashbuckling saga of an ailing Queen who names her successor with her dying breath, a solitary teenager steeped in Biblical and Calvinist thought ushered to the throne and a church divided by doctrinal and political intrigue. Against this turbulent background the idea for a new and scholarly translation of the Bible was hatched in the mind of the young King. Brilliantly narrated by John Rhys-Davies and under the masterful direction of Norman Stone (‘Shadowlands’), ‘KJV’ never flags as it unfolds this gripping story. Elisabeth’s successor, Scottish King, James VI had a keen sense of Divine providence over his life and the task of organising a new translation of the Scriptures became his life’s passion and subsequently his enduring legacy. In its scope and depth there had never been anything quite like it. Archaic though the language of the KJV may seem to modern readers, in its time it was cutting edge and innovative. This presentation helps us to appreciate what a milestone that enterprise represented.

Gerard O'Shea
This review appears in the current edition of VOX magazine

Friday, 4 February 2011



Behold the fleck of ant
bearing with diligence his large
load of crumb down the long
mile of floorboard.

By observation we become
part of an insect's life. Is he
aware of us? What thread of vision
links antic and observant?
What false criterion of size?
And who is it who, watching us,
whispers Watch for Who it is
Who watches you?

Luci Shaw

Luci Shaw is a contmporary Americn writer whose work often reflects spiritual themes and keen observations of nature. I first came across her poetry in Selwyn Hughes' daily devotional 'Every Day With Jesus'. Her website is well worth a visit.