Tuesday, February 24, 2009


for Doutsjé

I am a ballerina , dancing in the sea-storm

at first light. I move in words, In leaps of light

In swirls and blurs of colour. I am joy.

I am all life rejoicing at being alive.

An announcer, An emblem –

More than this – I am poetry in motion

I am phrases, an alphabet of golds and greens.

I am leaves. I am stem and bud, bulb and roots.

I am trumpet, and frill, and abandon.

I am anther, sap, corolla, and pollen –

The early bees delight in me –

Even the sun and moon bow down before me.

For I am Narcissus. I love myself!

Come look upon me.

Monday, February 23, 2009


If you blush I’ll build boxes for you to hide in

When you’re tired I’ll try on your trainers

If you cry I’ll cuddle you carefully

When you’re sick I’ll swab your sweaty brow

If you frown I’ll feel fragile

When you’re ashamed I’ll peel your pomegranate

If you laugh I’ll leap Land Rovers

When you’re depressed I’ll buy you chocolates

If you sigh I’ll sing sad songs

When you’re unlucky I’ll wash your pots

If you sing I’ll smile endlessly

When you’re afraid I’ll suck your thumb

If you talk I’ll tether my tongue

When you’re on edge I’ll boil your eggs

If you whisper I’ll wrangle your washing

When you’re cross I’ll pick you a posy

If you whistle I’ll wrestle a water buffalo

When you’re bored I’ll leap lighthouses for you.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Last Evening

That time of evening,

sun dropping, shadows lengthening.

Swallows, recently returned

from south Africa

are happy hunting on the wing;

an occasional twitter almost

sounds like happiness, like glee.

They remind me of

when I was a child, that infinite freedom,

not wanting to hear my father

calling me home from play before darkness.

Maybe half a dozen are flying

round in circles from above

our neighbour’s leafing willows and alders,

then, with complete mastery,

above the silver birch and mountain ash

lining the river bank beside our cottage;

they wheel an arc and repeat endlessly.

Sit beside me and Listen now.

How to describe silence?

Peace, maybe?

Does silence have a smell?

How does contentment smell?

A coal tit calls in the distance

high pitched and insistent,

asserting his territory before he roosts.

Already the hebe bush beside us

is awash with its purple brush-like flowers;

bees and flies are lost in ecstasy

deep among them.

In the middle distance

the warm raking light of evening

on flanks of the ridge above Dereens village.

I gasp in wonder.

Each lit boulder and raised bit of hillside

is complemented by a shadow;

the aching simplicity of observed beauty.

Even the telegraph poles

are elevated this evening,

I view them now, my mind expanded,

as works of art,

the tall pale poles lit like ballerinas

arms extended against

the backcloth of God’s creation.

They could be Christ himself

crucified high in the vaulted roof

of my church in England,

his body incandescent,

skin glowing like ivory; like silk.

Even the occasional drone

of passing traffic transcends itself,

becomes part of the symphony,

the music of Aquila, of Achill.

Close by, in our land drain

the dry rasp of old straw coloured bulrush stems

makes me think of them as parchment,

their scribble and scratch

captivating in the slight breeze

rising from the south east;

which God of Nature is writing this play?:

Act One, Scene One: Spring unfolding.

Everywhere I taste beauty.

Like a guest at some fabulous banquet

where all the senses are heightened,

so that I swoon at the smell

of that blue that is Achill Sound just now,

and all the lit white cottages

along the coast road

are vanilla ice cream for my eyes.

Hold the moment.

I close my eyes and breathe deeply.

What is that odour?


Hold it.

Breathe again.

Be expansive.

What is that sound?

A lamb on the hillside calling its mother?;

a child lost in beauty?;

a bee humming in eternity?.

All of these things.

Yes, all of these.

© Mark F. Chaddock

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Losing It

A January afternoon;

between myself and Achill Sound

slanting light fires the land

climbs the gable ends of cottages

while, brooding in the background,

Corraun mountain dark and stern

with its crumbling frown of cliffs and ridges

looks from beneath its cap of cloud.

I am walking round and round

my chalet, counting revolutions,

a circuit each pass of the drainpipe;

at sixty I shall stop knowing that

my body will have shed a pound of fat

and in its place, there will be poetry.

This poem was written pretty much as it is with very little or no editing. It was composed in my head while performing the activity described, and I am very grateful it came so easily - one of those gifts we sometimes receive. It makes up for all the hours when struggling to write that seems to occur frequently as part of a writers life.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Writing an Artist's Statement

whale vertebra, driftwood, and stones (copyright Mark Chaddock 2009)

Sitting down to write an Artist’s statement is a daunting task but an absolute necessity - especially for an emerging artist. It not only focuses on why you make the art you do and what you are trying to achieve, but just as importantly, it informs your audience.

I am now considering approaching galleries regarding exhibiting my paintings and photographic art, so I need to be clear about what questions I am asking, and wish to ask, through my art. What is unique or individual about it.

Writing an Artist’s statement is not a biography, although that information is always essential, too. But the Artist’s statement is going to be what defines my work, what it is that makes it different from other people’s work.

It should answer why I use the medium I do and how I have progressed with it over my career. And who/what my influences were. Why does my chosen subject interest me, and what led me to your current work. These are just some aspects of my art that need to be conveyed.

All this makes it necessary to assimilate information about my art through listening, questioning, and absorbing. Once I have thought about it a while I shall be able to ask myself some questions about my work. The answers to these questions will form the framework from which I will begin drafting my statement. But I know from experience as a writer that I shouldn’t settle for my first draft. I shall keep re-drafting and improving it until I am satisfied that I am saying what i wish to say about my art.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Reminder To Myself

This is a photo of mine. I shoot a lot of abstracts since I studied fine art at Castlebar GMIT. These are my 'light paintings'.

I am up to a few things at the moment:

1. I am moving towards getting painting again - I paint squiggly things in mixed media, mostly - it's called 'abstract expressionism.'
2. I am waiting for results from some competition, image, and poetry submissions
3. I am in the process of choosing what to read on my poetry cd. - as well as where to launch it.
4. I am thinking if I had to submit 10 framed photos for an exhibition which would they be.
5. I am submitting poetry manuscripts to appropriate publishers.
6. I am writing my first full-length play.
7. I am attempting to get back into writing my first novel.
8. I am trying to keep this writing blog going.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Schmap 2009 Galway City Guide

I was so pleased to receive an E-mail the other day informing me that one of my photos had been selected to appear in this year's Schmap guide to Galway city. I am thrilled with the image that was chosen. As well as it being one of my personal favourites, it is quite a contemporary semi-abstract image using mannequins and reflections.
Galway city is such a colourful, vibrant, cosmopolitan place to visit with a camera that each time I am like a child in a sweet shop. I don't run out of creative enthusiasm until I have shot about two hundred images. I know this is right because I have counted the total each time. There aren't many places that would be able to sustain continuous creative inspiration for three hours.

This image, (copyright Mark Chaddock), is now on the 2009 Schmap guide available for use on mobile phones and ipods and my image is in the 'museum' section. Happy shooting!http://www.schmap.com/galway/sights_universityarea/p=106624/i=106624_3.jpg

Friday, February 6, 2009

'Weekly Edition' Radio CRC Interview

Last Sunday I was interviewed by Edith Geraghty on her local radio slot - ('Weekly Edition' :5 - 6pm Sundays, repeated Tuesdays at 7 -8pm) - about my life and writing. I must admit, despite Edith being a lovely lady who I have known for a couple of years now, it was still somewhat daunting - a whole hour talking about myself. Okay, it was reassuring to know I would be reading a few of my poems. Even so, because of my nervousness, and because I knew i would be most at ease reading my poems, my plan was to read as many as possible, so that the 'interrogation time' - (in terror?) - would be reduced. But which to read? Old ones; new ones; those that related to what I was going to be talking about? So I took loads. And loads.

In the event I was put totally at ease by Edith, (who, as well as being a natural radio presenter, is also Artistic Director of Phoenix Theatre Works - a voluntary theatre company based in Belmullet here in Co. Mayo). Sat in the room with headphones and microphone facing Edith's warm smile and gentle questioning turned out to be thoroughly enjoyable, and I must admit I was left slightly embarrassed by my initial concerns. Apart from it being good publicity, (an opportunity not to be missed by any writer), the experience was also an altruistic and enhancing one. I would encourage anyone who is asked to appear on Edith's programme on CRC Castlebar local radio, 102.9fm, to agree unreservedly without hesitation. It was one of the most enjoyable ways I have ever spent an hour. I was even told I had a lovely baritone voice - so now you know! Now then, I'm telling ya - you heard it here first!

(By the way, Phoenix Theatre Works gave three performances of my first play, 'The Quiet Room', at the new arts centre, Belmullet, in April 2008. I am currently in the process of writing a new full-length play for them).

Edith Geraghty works tirelessly for the local Belmullet community raising money for various charities, (especially the Irish Wheelchair Association and the Lifeboat Association), through the Arts.