Séamus Ahearne contemplates ‘that’ poem…

The Power of the Poem

The hill we climb

‘A skinny black girl’ put all of Joe Biden’s vision into new words. His ‘dream’ continued with the 22 year-old Amanda Gorman. The gentle but dramatic presentation brought everything into proper perspective. The old and the very young were in agreement. Lady Gaga wore her toned down skirt (according to my fashion-conscious informants) which amused me, as I recalled the difficulty some local brides have had, in negotiating the width of the aisle, for their weddings! She sang beautifully. Jennifer Lopez played her part and soared into the heavens. Garth Brooks sang ‘Amazing Grace’ in a way seldom heard before. It must be that hat! But the words were pertinent. It was a different day. Only for the virus, I would never have had the time or made the time to watch the inauguration. I found it highly emotional. It felt like all the values we treasure, were back in vogue. Augustine was even mentioned on Truth. I was impressed too at how naturally and easily, God was mentioned. The whole Ritual was by way of contrast with the past. There was definitely an elephant at the Capitol and it didn’t need to be mentioned. Barack. George W. Bill. (Jimmy couldn’t attend.) Were there. Mike Pence did the honourable thing. The occasion was poignant and very special. As Amanda said:

“As we lift our gazes, not to what stands between us but what stands before us…..            

We will raise this wounded world, into a wondrous one.”

For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it.

If only we’re brave enough to be it. ” (Amanda)


Asides on Sport:

Lionel Messi got his first red card as a Barcelona player last week. The press was very sympathetic. They felt that he has been battered forever and eventually his quick-step wasn’t fast enough to avoid the more grotesque of these assaults. At last Mesut Ozil has left Arsenal for Fenerbahce. Arsene Wenger spoke of his genius. His languid movement on the field hid his poetic spirit. Arsene spoke of the artist he was as a player and couldn’t quite grasp how he had become peripheral at Arsenal. Some of the hierarchy didn’t like his support of the Uighurs either. Vanessa Sierra had a problem; she is Bernard Tomic’s girlfriend. They are quarantining before the Australian Open (Tennis). She never washes her own hair. She always has a hairdresser to do that. She couldn’t get her hair done. She was shy over the single toilet too! Poor Vanessa. Now I understand. My hair is rapidly growing. My beard is sprouting everywhere and there is no barber! I should be very stressed-but I’m not!

“We found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves

So while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe

Now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?” (Amanda)


The Tolka and leukaemia and a wake:

I went to the Tolka. The heron appeared. This bird has been absent for many weeks. My own view is that she was celebrating the departure of Donald Trump to Mar-a-Lago. A certain euphoria was in the air and the heron caught it. Donald had arrived (as president) to smash up the establishment and had created instead his new establishment of lies and chaos. We hope for different days with Joe and Kamala. And the heron agreed. I had a peculiar thought when Chief Justice Roberts swore in Joe and declared him President of USA. Strictly speaking – there were two Presidents for those 11 minutes! It is the clock that decides the hand-over time. So two presidents and two popes in Rome…Anyway, I continued my walk. My friend Michael had died. He has fought leukaemia for four years. He told me last Friday that he had reached the end of the road. There was nothing more that could be done. As I walked, I thought of Michael and our friendship. We go back 57 years. Michael attended the oncology department (Limerick) several times a week. Here are his constant words: “These are the most wonderful people in the world. The Receptionist. The Secretary. The Cleaners. The Porters. The Nurses. The Doctors. The Consultants. They work together as a team. Nothing is too much. There is always banter and fun and humour and teasing. They are wonderful. My heart is lifted by them every day.” My retort to Michael was: “They were as he found them because of how he was with them!” Michael saw how good his life had been; how blessed he was; how happy he was to have reached 74. He did me good every time we met or spoke. The walk gave me time to have my own little ‘wake.’

Small talk is dying!

Many find this lockdown most difficult. Motivation is troublesome. Routine and structure is almost gone. The radio mentions that conversation is dwindling. A few talk of being stupefied by TV or numbed into dumbness. There is talk of a whole constituency craving church and worship! The online community is expanding rapidly. What will we all do now without Trump? He fed the airwaves. The drug of Covid news has to be stifled too or else it will corrode our minds. The ‘Report on the Homes’ last week took the focus away for a time and our history became a pain for everyone. The Church once more was the major culprit. Or so it seemed. Pádraig McCarthy again brought a sober and reflective mind to the discussion. He always sifts through the material and gives a perspective. Paddy Ferry will shortly be receiving a letter from my solicitor for daring to libel St Augustine! We all need to step back and see our way towards God. The smog of negativity corrupts everyone and we can miss the God of everyday. The wood for the trees is a very fair summary. Young Amanda could help us write our poem too about our Country; about our Church; about our Present World; about our God. The light. The brightness. The hills. The beauty. The wonder. The grace. The goodness. The love. When are some of the ministers of religion, going to take up the challenge of Brendan Hoban’s book?   Brendan’s portrait/portrayal/pen-pictures is only one slide.

“We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be 

A country that is bruised, but whole, benevolent, but bold, fierce, and free.

We know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.

Our blunders become their burdens. If we merge mercy with might and might with right,

Then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.” (Amanda)



Words of wisdom from Indi:  

She is ten months today. She has got to her feet. She is outstanding. She reaches for the stars and everything else as well. Her determination is like steel. She tells me on the phone that the old codgers (parents) are forever trying to restrict her. She wants me to make a banner for her: “Don’t fence me in.” She is going to walk tall and stand tall. Her mantra these days is rather daring and simple. She puts it bluntly and she admits that her experience is very limited. “I spend my days (mostly) smiling and laughing and trying to talk. Why are people so sad and so full of problems and always moaning? Why can’t people be happy with every day?” She then declares and maintains that she cannot be contradicted: “This God you all talk about, makes life good and beautiful and wonderful. Why moan? Why stress? Why be dull and full of problems? Why see the bad and the wrong and miss out on the good and the lovely and special? Every day is a gift for discovering. Open the package every morning and give thanks.” She must have known my friend Michael (RIP). That is it for today. That is her poem like Amanda.

Seamus Ahearne osa


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One Comment

  1. Pat O'Hagan says:

    I don’t always get (or make) the time to read the articles on this website, but very grateful to Seamus Aherne for his commentary on “The Poem” of the year (and it’s only just begun) and his insightful associations of its sentiments with the world of sport, the beautiful unspoilt mind of a young child, and the miracles we can witness by just being “nice” to one another. God rest your dear Michael, and God bless you, Seamus. And all of us.

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