Emma

Soft, gentle, beautiful,

Flakes gracefully float.

Laying a quilt as fresh as white linen,

She whispers a caution and utters a quote.

Tucking us in she warns us,

Be fooled not by my beauty.

I may seem all sweetness and light,

Underestimation is my ally.

Hush now child and wait for tonight.

thumbnail_IMAG2214

 

Bruises

Purple punches on the skin like berries perched upon a branch.

A sample so sweet, a flavour so bitter, an aftertaste like a broken heart.

Brownish blue scratches turn to stitches sown in patterns to the quilt.

The mirror has no time for excuses nor for the regret or the guilt.

 

Then there are the layers beneath, the shield before the heart and soul.

They will heal you from within like a guiding hand on a broken throne.

Although the pain will still be felt the bruises they will fade.

You’ll pick the berries from the branch and savour the strength in each taste.

 

Roots

You only see the surface, not the roots that grow inside.

The mask that covers the cracks and the secrets we like to hide.

But roots are the reckoning force to which we all cling.

We cannot become who we want to be without first looking within.

They ground us in so many ways both physical and not,

but roots too can weep, deteriorate and rot.

Ripped up by some trauma, they dangle amid the air.

Unfamiliar territory, unscathed, unprepared.

But watch ever so carefully and watch them over time.

They won’t do it boastfully, they’ll trick even the sharpest eye.

Gradually those roots of yours will morph back to the ground.

A little different to before but with new strength once unfound.

Some day you’ll show the surface and the roots alike.

They’ll become the driving force, your ambition and your pride.

 

Gutter rain

I was in town earlier today doing a few bits and pieces. The usual errands that can only get done on the weekends. I came out of an internet café after printing some work to find it raining pretty heavily. I threw my scarf over my head and made a dash for my next stop. About 5 seconds into that dash I abandoned the idea and found the nearest porch I could stand under until it calmed. I stood there for about five minutes lost in my own world and my own worries. I faced the opposite direction that I had been looking and spotted a homeless man sitting in a doorway. The rain was beating down on top of him and he sat their motionless. In that moment my heart went out to him. Sometimes a look, expression or glance can describe a pain that no amount or arrangement of words will ever do justice to. The pain was visible all over his face. For a few moments I just stood in my shelter still waiting for the rain to ease. I quickly grew impatient but could not bring myself to pass this man. I gave him the few euros I had in my purse and offered to get him some tea or coffee. He was almost afraid to look me in the eye. As I stood there for a moment the rain began to spill out over the gutter and landed straight onto the side of his face. It was awful and perhaps I am just more aware of the homeless issue now seeing as it is in the media so much more and because I work in the sector but it puts things in perspective.

 

 

Snowflake

Glistens in the morning sun against a smoky, dewy mist.

Double take at the beauty, an apparent, soft and gentle kiss.

Hidden on the leaves and branches it shines upon the darkest browns,

But don’t be fooled by her attraction, she’ll seduce and smile with silver charms.

Glimmers that wink to entice you, drawing you to that one touch

and that is when her edges trick you with just one look, one glance, one cut.

Butter wouldn’t melt they say, oh how butter wouldn’t melt.

An illusion to the senses but one that all insist is felt.

snowflake0572

 

Image – Bing Images

Are you afraid of the Dark? Amsterdam

26055995_10215556040603052_5609241338143514498_n

This past weekend saw me return to the lovely city of Amsterdam. Known for many things from arts and culture it also has shall we say colourful social life. Whenever I visit a city personally I’m drawn to the architecture of the buildings, the colours and the similarities and differences that exist between home and the location. Amsterdam is no different and I very much enjoyed the trip. It had a few highlights including a fantastic fireworks display on New Years Eve but one particular thing we did while there was dine in the dark. It was definitely an experience to remember.

I had heard of this concept before. The idea is it is like any other restaurant that you go to except for one major difference. You dine completely in the dark. As we arrived we all knew in theory what we would be doing but in the moments before we went into the dining room there was certainly an air of unease of what this would be like. A member of staff sat us in a waiting area and explained that shortly our table would be ready so we waited nervously. We were given a locker for our bags and phones and left our coats in a cloak room by the entrance. Soon after a member of the waiting staff (who are all visually impaired) instructed us to follow him, imagine a conga line through a curtain into complete darkness and I mean complete darkness. I don’t think any of us were quite prepared for just how dark it would be. I was second in the line to be seated and as I was guided by the waiter I was a bit overwhelmed. Eventually all six of us were seated and tried to get our bearings. Other diners were chatting but again you could not see your hand in front of you let alone the other guests.

At first I was quite panicked and unsettled. If I’m ever in a situation where I can’t see because of darkness I tend to close my eyes. I feel more comfortable that way but having your eyes wide open and having no idea what is in front, behind, next to or across from you is quite daunting and it certainly took some adjusting to. The waiter had asked us if we had any allergies or are vegetarian etc. as the second difference with this restaurant is that you have no choice on the menu. You only find out afterwards what you have eaten. There were five courses in total including an appetiser, a starter, a main course, and two desserts, one small and one large. As your sight is now just a sea of black you have to rely on your other senses to get by so touching the table to find your cutlery and glasses and also pouring the jug of water. Your smell and taste to figure out what you are eating and sound to gauge who at the table was speaking. Even though I couldn’t see any of the others at our table it was interesting that once you did figure out where everyone was sitting if they spoke you do turn towards them and nod along as if you can see them.

The food itself was delicious although eighty percent of the time I didn’t know exactly what I was eating and cutting the meat was definitely a tricky challenge. As we finished each course we tried to identify the different flavours and textures on the plate and while we did get some ingredients correct we were far off from guessing the whole menu.

The entire meal lasted about two hours so it’s a significant amount of time from start to finish. When the meal ended the waiter again guided us out of the room and instructed us to look down at the floor for a few moments when we returned to the lit room. It was a strange sensation coming back out and it did take a minute or two to readjust and get my balance. I certainly left with a renewed appreciation for my eyesight and it certainly was an eye opening experience (no pun intended). For me personally it gave a stark reality check into what it must feel like to be visually impaired. I would recommend people to try it if the opportunity presents itself. At the moment I don’t think there is a restaurant in Ireland that does it but there are many internationally so if abroad and you come across it give it a try. You’ll appreciate your senses a lot more afterwards!

 

Crocodile

crocodile-under-water-danger-38873839

Learn to be still, to watch, to observe,

Seamlessly lay beneath the surface,

Breath, always breath, but do so in a way that no one will notice.

Learn to be quiet but never unheard,

Motionless movements until the last moment.

Master your skill of pretence and patience,

Then strike when you’re ready with subtle confidence.

Learn to be gracious in success and defeat,

your prey will challenge you even if they feel meek.

Learn to accept, to evolve, to transcend,

to move with purpose, poise and strength.

The once murky water will soon become clear,

and you’ll be still, observe and watch without fear.

 

 

Photo – Bing Images

 

Senses

A look in the wrong direction,

A glance that would mark the start.

A stare that is still remembered,

In a blink that could break the heart.

A bond that could never be broken,

A connection to be felt.

A twist of fate that fooled you,

A rapport that once made you melt.

A whisper of words of comfort,

An utter of pain as well.

A declaration of I love you,

but for how long is left unsaid.

A bank of memories to reflect on,

A dozen good and a matching dozen bad.

A vault that is seldom opened,

A safe with no known combination,

Until someone else breaks the code.

 

senses

Picture – Bing Images

Fear

Fear.. a small four letter word that takes up so much space in our minds and lives.  Anything that threatens or challenges our survival results in fear in one way or another. Something we haven’t done before, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, of pain, of loss, of not being good enough or not being accepted, fear of illness, not being financially secure, fear of being alone or left behind. The list is endless. Stepping outside of our comfort zone induces fear more often than not but what comes from that fear on the other side is significant growth. Acknowledgment from ourselves that we can be good enough, that we can and will survive and that although we may be unsure and at times unsteady the worst thing we can do is allow fear to prevent us from growing.

Some of the best decisions I have made so far in life have scared the absolute you know what out of me. They have often been the result of an impulse (but not always) and the lessons I’ve learned from them have come from experiences that I would never change although they were difficult at the time. My first semester in UL I knew nobody. I remember waking up one morning and getting ready to go to college but before leaving I sat on my bed and wondered what the hell was I doing there when all my friends and everything and everyone I was familiar with was in Cork. I doubted if I had done the right thing. I had UCC down as my first choice up until the last minute and changed my CAO to have UL as the top slot based solely on a gut instinct that the course choice would suit me better. UL went onto be one of the best experiences of my life. I met some wonderful people there and some not so wonderful. It opened me up to so many experiences I don’t think I would have had now had I stayed in Cork. I met some really significant people who have taught me a lot.

Another decision drowned in fear was my decision to move to Thailand. When I look back now I know clearly why I made the decision but at the time I was blinded by naivety and the attitude of why not. My flight was from Cork to Bangkok via Amsterdam in April 2012. I was terrified. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the feeling of watching my brother and mom walk out of the departure lounge at 4 in the morning. I spent 6 months of what should have been a 10 month stay there. An absolutely crazy experience is the only way I can sum up that time. Culture shock on so many levels I won’t even begin to try and explain. Lost and found friendships. Extreme highs and extreme lows but again an experience I would never change, not even the bad bits. I came home a broken woman from that one but I’m grateful for every single aspect of it.

Even going to Geneva by myself earlier this year startled me a little. I have done far more risky things and gone much further afield than Switzerland but because I hadn’t travelled alone in a few years I was definitely apprehensive. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it reminded me that sometimes having that little bit of fear is worth it.

Fears I have now are everything from rollercoasters and spiders to loss and loneliness. The latter two make me vulnerable and being vulnerable is scary but regardless I try and overcome those fears with patience. I know that from other past experiences that I was fearful of that something good will come from it, perhaps not all of it will be good but even from those parts there will be another opportunity to learn. So goes the saying of feel the fear and do it anyway.

I trust even my impulses now. I know that I will take something from the experience regardless. Fear or no fear.

 

Image – Bing ImagesthP82QQUAO

Resilience

When we reach a certain point,

we think that’s all there is.

We’ll  be happy when we get there,

when we cross that final bridge.

It seems that we forget,

to see the most important parts.

The time, the effort, the hardship,

the journey from the start.

So when you reach your next milestone,

look back at what you’ve achieved.

You thought that it would break you,

but YOU brought it to it’s knees.

Resilience is a skill we need to practice and to mould

and once you do you’ll learn to handle whatever does unfold.

resilient-sprout-in-drought_645x400

 

Image – Yahoo images