Monday, July 17, 2017

" Great Plains Prayer "

Bless us, Oh Lord, 
and this our Jell-O. Our corn,
and steaks and kolaches.
Our heat indexes. Our wind chills.
Our sunsets and horizons.
Our endless waves of grain and grass.
Our ancestors who started out
for the coast but stopped half-way.
Our nostalgia for their calico,
their sod, their olde homesteads.
Our denial of the meth labs
that have taken their place.
Bless our perseverance.
Our unerring politeness.
Our red state politeness
and our white, white bread.
Bless our dubious status
as tornado alley or flyover zone
and bless all those who fly over,
as well as those of us who, out of
choice or necessity or inertia -
forgive us, we know not why  or what
we've done - but, by God, stayed.

~ Grace Bauer
(1952-    ) 

~ Beannaichte'
17 July, 2017   

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


One who,
when He has the Choice
of two Evils,
chooses both.

~Oscar Wilde

~ Beannaichte'
11 July, 2017                                                                         

Thursday, July 6, 2017

"A Writer"

~ Becoming
is the
                                          ~ John O'Hara

Alicia O'Hara
6 July, 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017



              Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.  Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the Spirit.  If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble, it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.  Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.  But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and every where life is full of heroism.  Be yourself.  Especially do not feign affection.  Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.  Nurture strength of Spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not distress yourself with imaginings.  Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.  Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.  And whether or not it is clear to you, the universe is unfolding as it should.  Therefore, be at Peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.  And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life~keep Peace with your Soul.  With all its sham and drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.  Strive to be happy.

~Max Ehrmann

28 June, 2017

Saturday, June 10, 2017

"Two Words"

have the same letters.
10 May, 2017

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

" Sacred Hoop"

I watch her
 She sits,
fully concentrated- 
with her 
Eye on the Needle
Her stitches are tiny and varied-
precise, and incredibly neat.

I touch the worn wooden Hoop
 a Sacred Circle, in Her hands
The muslin fabric-
  a rough cloth,
will become softer, with Her working
Much the same, as Her hands,
have done with me.

I examine the different coloured threads
 carefully wrapped,
around  pieces of discarded paper
She loves bright colours
 I see their reflection
in the Eye of the Needle-
in Her intelligent eyes.

She knows how to make use of things
  Learned through Hard Times
She does not boast -
 Her way is one of Quiet Knowing
She never wastes words
So much counts, in the Doing.

I am Happy, as I sit near Her
Watching Her fingers, guiding the needle,
Skillfully, through the fabric
 Eyes Steady
Not unlike her Heart-Always Steady
As the Eye
of the Needle. 
Soon a Pattern will emerge
One She has worked, with Patience and Care
One day, I will Understand
She did Her Best to Prepare me
For a much larger Canvas; a Life-Tapestry
 Guiding, Teaching, and Loving
With Her Eye, upon the Needle. 

~Alicia O'Hara 
c. 26 June, 2013

31 May, 2017

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

" The Red Bird Sings"

~ No sun outlasts the sunset
           But will rise again
                                    And bring the Dawn

 ~ Maya Angelou 

The day is lovely, I climb the hill ...

A grave marker gleaming in the afternoon sun
Your name, oh so familiar and true
I reach  for the top of the stone, to steady myself, and you are there
I trace the letters with my heart and hand
 Realising, you live on in each heart that loves you -
And the red bird sings.

Your life; so much more than mere words chiseled in stone...

The view, one  so reminiscent of you
Age-olde trees, settled in a peaceful ravine
Teaming with the glories of Nature; each one, you held so dear
Yours  is a special room in a safe corner of my Heart
Never to forget you -
 And the red bird sings.

As I ascend the hill, it seems a difficult climb...

 I remember how often you walked 
When little oxygen was given you
 Your body incredibly stressed
Yet, you were determined to give each step your absolute best
I will give you no less -
 And the red bird sings.

Your  husband, now buried next to you...

Following you, nine months later
To the Great Unknown;

I guess it is the way it was meant to be
Perhaps those were his wishes, as to be with you
You never liked being away from each other -
And the red bird sings.

I bring nothing in my hands...

Yet, my Heart is full
So many thoughts and emotions
Now, seeping through porous grief
A grief that we often bore, together

We were always a part of each other's healing -
And the red bird sings.

  I turn to make my descent ...

I see you clearly in the afternoon sun
You are happy; I sense the joy in your smile
Your hand steady upon my shoulder
As you point me to my family;
Our family-
And the red bird sings.

  ~ For your love and prayers, always... Thank You!
 The red bird sings.

Alicia O'Hara
c. 31 May, 2014

~ Beannaichte'
16 May, 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"Confiteor: A Country Song"

EveningRed sky.  Standing at the door.
I sense a shadow presence here:
the one who loved this land before.

Those harmless hills bear scars of war.
Someone stood here, full of fear.
This is not a metaphor.

Above me, turkey vultures soar;
below the garden, seven deer
Someone loved this land before.

loved it as I do, maybe more
She did not simply disappear
and she is not a metaphor.

This was some woman's home before
pale soldiers came to clear
a land that someone loved before.

What to do with facts like this?  I ignore
them?  Hope they disappear?
Someone loved this land before.
None of this is metaphor.

~ Patricia Monaghan
U.S.A./ Ireland  

~ Beannaichte'
11 May, 2017

Friday, May 5, 2017

"if' i"

i  looked through your eyes,
would  i see the Hunter's Moon; in awe of its beauty and mystery
would the Stars hold a Mystery; my eyes fixed to the Sky
would the Sun burn with the Fire of Ten -Thousand Suns
would my face be washed Clean with Tears, because of this Beauty
would Smile from a place, deep Inside-
 Knowing, i  have Touched the Sacred Mystery, "if".

"if" i  looked through your eyes
would i walk the Path; Moonlight Guiding each footfall
would the Stars be  the truest of Diamonds 
would the Sun impart Healing, with Eternal Light
would i Touch my Tears and not be ashamed
would i Smile  from a  place, that runs Deeper than Rivers-
 wouldKnow, i have Shared the Sacred Mystery, "if"...

"if" i continued to look through your eyes
would  Sway with tall prairie Grasses, that Dance in the Wind
would  i  continue to Stand Tall; akin to the mighty Oak
would i be equally Graceful, as the Weeping Willow
would my Voice resonate with the Gentleness of the Cottonwood
would Smile in the Sunlight, shimmering through Myriad of Treetops-
would  i   Know, i am a  Part of the Sacred Mystery,"if"...

"if"  while looking through your eyes
would i  realise, all Life is Precious
would i be True to the Wisdom of my Ancestors
would i Trace their Footprints, imprinted on the Land
would i  see the Signature of God, everywhere
would i endure Struggle to know Freedom-
would  i  Know  that  Creation is Borne  of Sacred Mystery,"if"...

"if" after Journeying with you
wouldKnow  that i  must Look through my eyes
would  i  be Faithful and Cherish  my Vision 
would Accept my Woundedness;
 Knowing, this is the Way of  Redemption
would  i  be Willing to Sacrifice Pleasure for Freedom; from self
would Know  that Life is a Gift; and Not a given-
would i then, Know;
 Sacred Mystery is Absolute-
 Never Guided,  by a "would",  an "if"- or an "i".

Alicia O'Hara
c. 20 October, 2013 

~ Beannaichte'
5 May, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


              ...Countless people have been devastated for reasons that cannot be explained or justified in Spiritual terms.  To do as you are doing in asking If there were a God, why would he let my little girl have to have possibly life-threatening surgery?-understandable as that question is-creates a false hierarchy of the blesses and the damned.  To use are individual good or bad luck as a litmus test to determine whether or not God exists constructs an illogical dichotomy that reduces our capacity for true Compassion.  It implies a pious quid pro quo that defies history, reality, ethics, and reason.  It fails to acknowledge that the other half of Rising-the very half that makes Rising necessary-is having first been nailed to a Cross.
              That's where you were the other night when you wrote to me, dear woman. Pinned in a place by your Suffering.  I woke up at 3a.m. because I could feel you Pinned there so acutely that I-a stranger-felt Pinned too.  So I got up and wrote to you.  My e-mail was a paltry little e-mail probably not too different from the zillions of other paltry little e-mails you received from others, but I know without knowing you that those e-mails from people who had nothing to give you but their kind words, along with all the Prayers people were praying for you, together formed a tiny raft that could just barely hold your weight as you floated through those terrible hours while you awaited your daughter's fate.
              If I believed in God, I'd see evidence of his existence in that.  In your darkest hour you were held afloat by the human Love that was given you when you most needed it. That would have been true regardless of the outcome of Emma's surgery.  It would have been the Grace that carried you through even if things had not gone as well as they did, much as we hate to ponder that.
              Your question to me is about God, but boiled down to the essentials. It's not so different than most questions people ask me to answer.  It says: This failed me and I want to do better next time. My answer will not be so different either: To do better you're going to have to try. Perhaps the good that can come from this terrifying experience is a more complex understanding of what God means to you so the next time you need Spiritual solace you'll have something sturdier to lean on than that rickety I'll-believe-he-exists-only-if-he-gives-me-what-I-want fence.  What you have learned as you sat with Emma in the intensive care unit is that your idea of God as a possibly nonexistent Spirit man who may not hear your prayers and may not swoop in to save your ass when the going gets rough is a losing prospect.
              So it's up to you to create a better one.  A bigger one.  Which is really, almost always, something smaller.
              What if you allowed your God to exist in the Simple words of Compassion others offer to you?  What if Faith is the way it feels to lay your hands on your daughter's Sacred body?  What if the greatest Beauty of the day is the shaft of Sunlight through your window?  What if the worst thing happened and you Rose anyway?  What if you Trusted in the human scale?  What if you Listened harder to the story of the man on the Cross who found a Way to endure his Suffering than to the one about the impossible magic of the Messiah?  Would you see the Miracle in that? 

~Cheryl Strayed

 18 April, 2017

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"Tiny Beautiful Things"


               Don't lament so much about how your career is going to turn out.  You don't have a career.  You have a life.  Do the work.  Keep the Faith.  Be true blue.  You are a writer because you write. Keep writing and quit your complaining.  Your book has a birthday.  You don't know what it is yet.
              You cannot convince people to love you.  This is an absolute rule.  No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it.  Real Love moves freely in both directions.  Don't waste your time on anything else.
              Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be.  Sometimes you'll put up a good fight and lose.  Sometimes you'll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go.  Acceptance is a small, quiet room.
              Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relationship to your naive pomposity.  Many people you believe to be rich are not rich.  Many people you think have it easy worked hard for what they got.  Many people who seem to be gliding right along have suffered and are suffering.  Many people who appear to be olde and stupidly saddled down with kids and cars and houses were once every bit as hip and pompous as you.
              When you meet a man in the doorway of a Mexican restaurant who later kisses you while explaining that the kiss doesn't "mean anything" because, much as he likes you, he is not interested in having a relationship with you or anyone right now, just laugh and kiss him back.  Your daughter will have his sense of humour.  Your son will have his eyes.
              The useless days will add up to something. The horrible waitress jobs.  The hours writing in your journal.  The long meandering walks.  The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and  dead people's diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not.  These things are your becoming.
              One Christmas at the very beginning of your twenties when your mother gives you a warm coat that she saved for months to buy, don't look at her skeptically after she tells you she thought the coat was perfect for you.  Don't hold it up and say it's longer than you like your coats to be and too puffy and possibly even too warm.  Your mother will be dead by spring.  That coat will be the last gift she gave you.  You will regret the small thing you didn't say for the rest of your life.
              Say, "Thank You".

     ~From "Tiny Beautiful Things,"
by Cheryl Strayed


28 March, 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017

"Death of an Irishwoman"

 in a sense
she ate monotonous food
and thought the world was flat,
and pagan, in the sense
she knew the things that moved
at night were neither dogs nor cats
but pukas and dark-faced men.
she nevertheless had fierce Pride.
But sentenced in the end
to eat thin diminishing porridge
in a stone-cold kitchen
she clenched her brittle hands
around a world she could not understand.
I loved her from the day she died.
She was a summer dance at the crossroads.
She was a card game where a nose was broken.
She was a song that nobody sings.
She was a house ransacked by soldiers.
She was a Language seldom spoken.
She was a child's purse
 full of useless things.

Michael Hartnett

~ Beannaichte'
 24 February, 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017

"Ballad of a Runaway Horse"

Say a Prayer
 for the Cowgirl,  her Horse Ran away
She'll Walk till she Finds him, her Darlin' her Stray
But the River's in Flood, and the Roads are Awash
And the Bridge's Break up, in the Panic of Loss.

And there's Nothing to Follow, No where to go
He's Gone Like the Summer, Gone Like the Snow
And the Crickets are Breaking her Heart with their Song
As the Day Caves in, and the Night is all Wrong.

Did she Dream,
 was it he, who went Galloping Past
And Bent down the Fern, Broke open the Grass
And Printed the Mud, with the Well-hammered Shoe
That she Nailed to his Feet,
 in the Dreams Of her Youth.

And although he goes Grazin',  a Minute Away
She Tracks him all Night, she Tracks him all Day
And she's Blind to his Presence, Except to Compare
Her Injury Here, with his Punishment There.

Then at Home on a Branch,
 on a High Stream
A Songbird Sings out, so Suddenly
And the Sun is Warm and the Soft Winds Ride
On a Willow Tree, by the Riverside.

 the World is Sweet
 and the World is Wide
He's there where the Light, and the Darkness Divide
And the Steam's comin' off him, he's Huge and he's Shy
And he Steps on the Moon, when he Paws at the Sky.

And he Comes to her Hand,
 but he's Not really Tame
He Longs to be Lost, she Longs for the Same
And he'll Bolt and he'll Plunge, through the first Open Pass
To Roll and to Feed, in the Sweet Mountain Grass.

Or he'll make a Break for the High Plateau
Where there's Nothing Above, or Nothing Below
It's Time for their Burden, the Whip and the Spur
Will she Ride with Him, or Will he Ride with Her. 

So she Binds herself, to her Galloping Steed
And he Binds himself to the Woman in Need
And there is No Space, just Left and Right
And there is No Time,
 But there is Day and Night.

Then she Leans on his Neck,
 and Whispers Low
Whither thou Goest, I will Go
And they Turn as One, and they Head for the Plain
No Need for the Whip, No Need for the Rein.

Now the Clasp of this Union,
who Fastens it Tight
Who Snaps it Asunder, the very Next Night
Some Say it's Him, some Say it's Her
Some say Love's like Smoke, Beyond all Repair.

So my Darlin',
 my Darlin', just Let it Go By
That olde Silhouette, on the Great Western Sky
And I'll Pick out a Tune, and they'll Move right Along
And they're Gone Like Smoke,
and they're Gone Like this Song.

~Say a Prayer for the Cowgirl...

~Emmylou Harris/Leonard Cohen

1 February, 2017