Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Holy Ground"

              I sit now looking down a valley to Liscannor Bay, and the sweep of the stone walls, the patchwork green, is calming and wonderful.  This is what I do when I have work to concentrate on, and I know why I chose this landscape.  When I was a child in the Mississippi Delta area of Arkansas, I sat for hours looking across the flat sweep of cotton fields-looking to the horizon.  To me this was a place where everything was possible-a magic world based on thoughts and wishes.  I've always felt the landscape dictated this; that everything was possible because the world was big enough.  Growing up I began to place a fervent emphasis on Freedom (which I equated with physical freedom), and I developed a need to move freely and a deep need for wide landscapes. I equated them with that moment of timeless potential.  The mind resting on emptiness-all things possible-the landscape of Creation (creative readiness).  This is an issue now in modern Ireland, the life of the imagination and Freedom of place, set against economic needs and economic identity. For the artist, the visionary, a new way of seeing must acknowledge the first and transcend 
the latter.

              As a child, I had a recurring mental image of a woman standing on a cliff-top dressed in nineteen- century clothes, the wind blowing her hair and lifting the ends of her long dress.  She was searching, and I knew that she was searching for would never be in sight.  This image fixed in my mind as  a symbol of Ireland, although as third-generation Irish I had no close ties and knew little about the country at that time. The melancholy figure, recognisable to me even as a child so symbolic of the loss of home and land, was a marker for me of my own loss of my mother and of suffering-a solitary figure in a landscape-the pain of loss that struck so deeply and formed so markedly much of the nineteenth and early twentieth century of Ireland. This is not to say that I believe anyone in Ireland now wishes to return to loss and struggle, but it is crucial that the Spirit of a Nation, its History and Wisdom that has sustained it, blend with and enhance a society's evolving consciousness.

              We are born to a land in a way totally other than our received history.  Our place on this earth is the same for us as it was for countless others-we, as they, must make our own understanding. We are, in fact, connected not to the past, but to Life.  Our inherited rituals of the land are now self-discovery-involving looking to the earth for Wisdom and finding a core response within ourselves.

Jessie Lendennie

25 January, 2015


  1. ~An immigrant to Ireland from Arkansas by way of London, poet Jessie Lendennie founded a small magazine more than three decades ago in Galway to publish the exciting new work coming from the west of Ireland. That magazine, "The Salmon", grew into "Salmon Poetry" (, one of Ireland's major publishers of poetry and considered its most innovative.

  2. A beautiful post! Thank you Alicia!!!

  3. Osiyo Redwolf. I appreciate your willingness to visit and to leave a comment.
    S'gi, for your kind words.