Monday, January 26, 2009

I am busy editing my poetry manuscript. I want a book of about 40 poems which will amount to some 80 pages or so.
There is a certain difficulty lies in deciding which poems to include, and which to leave out. For me, in the end it comes down to a feeling of which like each others company. They were written over the past eight years.
I have a series of some seventeen or so - The Invisible Series - written about my response to my father's struggle with stomach cancer during 2007. Another poem is about the birth of my grandson, Michael; my welcoming him to the world. Other poems in the collection are elegies to relatives and neighbours here in my village in Ireland. And some are childhood poems.
There is much about loss and memory in this collection, I think because I have now lost almost all my relations from that generation before me - parents, aunts, uncles, as well as grandparents. One becomes more and more orphaned with time. But writing can help retain that connection, if only through spirit.
There are other poems that don't fit into any category. These I regard as the fun poems, some are plays on words, such as those titled, 'Pig Ignorant', 'Blue Plums and Stilts', and 'Look The Other Way'.
A number of poems have featured in both writing group and county anthologies and many have been read at various venues round the county, (mostly for charity), notably 'Hailing The Oystercatcher', 'Old Acquaintance', 'Belonging', and 'Elegy to The San Nicholas Prodanelli'.
One poem in the collection is about The Celtic Tiger, another about saving turf, another about a young man who wandered into the Alaskan wilderness alone and died.

The title will be 'The Ordinary Miracle'. Just what I need at the moment. It will be launched this year on Achill Island, most likely in July/August.
Tight lines.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Scything - i.m. John Cleary

Initially aware of me watching

with camera in hand

my uncle scythed the meadow

beside the Achill road

his stance heroic

his movements measured

until his effort economised to find

a grace born of time and the familiar

the perfect rhythm

so that he moved almost imperceptibly

into that space where

man and tool embrace and became

out there in the field

a living grace I witnessed

aware of no-one

lost, gone

into the still centre of himself

so that I held my breath in eternity

knowing a shutter click

would have been an explosion.

Copyright Mark F Chaddock 2008

This is a poem I had struggled with for a number of years, unsuccesfully, unable to capture the special feeling of that day some thirty years ago. I am satisfied with this version. It will appear in my forthcoming book of poetry, 'The Ordinary Miracle', due out this year.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Last year was a good year for me in relation to my writing. My first play I wrote - a monologue I'd put on one side for a few years - 'The Quiet Room' - was performed by Phoenix Theatre Works, a theatre company based in Belmullet, Co. Mayo, Ireland.

I also began writing my first novel - and still am I hasten to add - but have a long way to go yet. I am pleasantly surprised though to find I have a synopsis and a few chapters written after a few months. I won't go into the plot here as that would spoil the surprise and doubtless stop me completing it.

I will admit that I have to discipline myself to put the time in. But I think that is a neccessity of all writers. Time and time again I have heard the only way to write is to write - to put the hours in - so many words per day, which eventually adds up to the finished novel. Don't stop your 'session' until you have completed x number of words or pages. It all boils down to maths in the end. In my own, albeit limited, experience of novel writing there is no way of dodging it. In order to write you have to sit down and write. There's no other way of doing it. That applies to all writing, period.

So, now that I have filled my calendar with novel-writing commitments I anticipate making swift progress in the coming months. But, then again, I always was an optimist.

By the way, the world just became a better place to live in since Barack Obama was inaugerated. Have a wonderful day.