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Saol Project

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Saol Project

Mission Statement
Saol is a community project focused on improving the lives of women affected by addiction and poverty

Vision Statement
Saol is working towards transforming the way in which Ireland responds to addiction and poverty.

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To begin, the amazing Paula Meehan sent us one of her poems.  She a6slo sent us a picture of her grandmother for whom the poem is written.  Here they are:

 

Hannah, Grandmother    

Coldest day yet of November

her voice close in my ear —

tell them priests nothing.

Was I twelve? Thirteen?

Filthy minded.

Keep your sins to yourself.

Don’t be giving them a thrill.

Dirty oul feckers.

As close as she came to the birds and the bees

on her knees in front of the Madonna,

Our Lady of the Facts of Life

beside the confessional —

oak door closing like a coffin lid

neatly carpentered

waxed and buffed.

In the well made box of this poem

her voice dies.

She closes her eyes

and lowers her brow to her joined hands.

Prays hard:

woman to woman.

Paula Meehan

You can listen to Paula reading some of her poems and talking with the SAOL Sisters by clicking on the word YouTube

 

Mary E. Lohan is a writer witht he 'Irish American Writers and Artists Association Inc., from New York city.  She sent us a poem capturing real cold:

 

OUR DECEMBER

This New York snow

freezes cold

and all you do is pace

and flay,

say whatever comes to tongue

each gutteral flung

from your mouth

like blackened snow

under-

tire,

 

I lean against a parked car

under fire,

afraid to blow a sigh

into this ice-picked wind

that might sling back

 

and yet, my silence

brings a death

worse than dying,

 

I too

have learned to fall from heights

so quiet.

Mary E. Lohan

 

John Kearns is a New York based poet and playwrite working with the Irish American Writers and Artists Association Inc., New York.  He sent us the following two pieces, the first a poem called 'Cheap Reproduction', the second, Monologue VII from Sisyphus Monologues from the play In the Wilderness.

Cheap Reproduction

By John Kearns

If I were to refuse and allow

Vanity or flippancy

To hang her image

Among the blurred collection

Of Friday night pictures that could be dreams

Signifying nothing,

                   “Would you write a poem for me?

                   No one ever wrote a poem for me.”

 

Would chase me into hell’s loneliest pit

     And echo rightfully within its walls,

Would bind me to the earth

     When joy would have me soar,

Would mark my soul with a sin

     Of which hers is clear.

For I would be denying the pain

     That I know has conceived this request,

Contradicting man’s myths:

     The Father who hurled His Son from Heaven,

     Mary at the Convict’s cross,

     And the Titan who bore concealed fire

     For the love of humanity.

For I would be refusing a mother’s wish

For life for this unworthy child.

 

Sympathy is too cheap.

A flick of the wrist at noon, six, and eleven

Can guarantee its growth within our guts.

This with callous logic

And social distance

Could sterilize even a poet’s heart

Especially one

Whose knowledge of birth can never be genuine

Whose voice cannot reach the same heights.

I must attempt, however,

To make real the cheapened feeling

And so, as far as I’m allowed,

I imitate her

Bearing her wish ‘til the hour of its fruition

When I tear it from my spirit

And hand it over. 

 

Monologue VII - between scenes 7 & 8

Carmen: (Latina student)

Though the sweat in his eyes had made him blind
The peak was known to his body and mind
His driving feet felt the path grow thin
And told him the breathless place he was in.  

But once again the task became too great
As the boulder cruel increased its weight
His arms hurt too much.  His hands were too small
Or that’s what it seemed, though it might not be all.

Was there some part inside him that he did not know
That secretly wanted to let the rock go? 
That didn’t want it to come to an end
But to keep on and keep on again and again? 

Perhaps the runner took part in the chase
Not for the finish line but for the race.
He thought he could win but lost the game late
Like any one man who fights against Fate. 

Brendan Fay is an activist from Louth but based in New York.  He already features on our website welcoming us at the 'St. Pats for All' Parade, March 2017 (http://www.saolproject.ie/stpatsforall.php).  Working with 'St Pat's for All' and the Lavender and Green Alliance, he sent us his poem, 'I rise by the Boyne' (4-26-2017):

I rise by the Boyne (4-26-2017)

A St Patricks hello

 At dawn I walk to the cemetary

Theres a silent joy in your graveyard that whispers welcome

“Our day has come”

Hardly in the St Peter’s grave

You weave the streets as I wave and cheer.

Back to crowds of faces all in search of home

We said your names- Petesy & Mary

And remember your embrace.

 

The town along the Boyne rises in Irish pride

This St Patrick’s day a rising tide

and tears of heartfelt pride

Well up overflowing streets.

From fields and housing estates

On this St Patrick’s day

Gilbert’s Rainbow flies among the Green white and orange .

Rainbow banner by the Lawrence Gate – held up with Pride

Irish and Gay.

 

With hugs and holding hands

Once forbidden

And cheers of welcome home

Humanity rises

With a song of simple liberty

For Muintir Aerach na hEireann

Lavender among the Green

Here and there a stillness

Returns and remembers

A time of silence, jeers and fears

Bashed down and heart broken

Battered inside

Shunned into silence and exile

 

Holy talk of intrinsic disorder

“Beloved”- from hearts of a few

 A song of March 17  79. The Hirchfield open doors

To rebellion and uprising.

Welcome to the table of the streets

And the unfolding of a YES and welcome

In sandwiches, soup 

In hugs and mugs of tea

In the look of the eye

The heart speaks- all are welcome here

The heart beats- welcome

We rise

Robed red councilors

lime green stewards

Great and Grand children

Nieces nephews

Cheers of hope

For Ireland and inclusion

 

I rise to say hello

I rise to your hello  

I rise with your hello

A town of migrants coming and going

From Poland, Albania, Croatia
Lithuania, Nigeria,  Annagassen, Athy, Scarlet Street

All from somewhere

Stories and lives

Every face and house

Wheelchair and bicycle

Tractor and trailer  

I rise

You rise

Rise inward

coming down the Drogheda streets

coming out

We weave the streets in liberty

Waves and cheers

Undoing silence by top of Peter street

By Clarkes

A gay kiss in a snug  

Dared the ways

A Mayor’s cheer from New York

Celebrates salutes the Drogheda day

Bands and the tenors voice sing 

Way of welcome

A day for liberty

The heart the beginning turn tide by Boyneside

A Siena nun

Ma & das

Boys and girls

queers in search of home

From Church and mosque

Pub and kitchen

Queer and sober

Kiss on St Patricks

On tractors and trailers

saints and sinners

I see the children

 

May you never know the

Old ways

of praying the gay away

of shunning to silence and exile

may you only know the welcome

to be yourself and belong .

 

Past flows

This March 17

holding hands.. rainbow pins …

hello world in need for hope

for failte and for-giving

mugs of tea

 

We sing and dance in the day away

 Although gone and left… for foreign lands to roam

We weave the Drogheda kitchen floor

 The wonder of the welcome

a St Patrick’s day welcome home

I rise to the holy hello

You rise sober today

I rise and make the migrant way home

I rise depressed

I rise in grief – she says

I rise to say hello -

I rise to greet the day

I rise from the closet

I rise from yesterday- he said

Your strength to hold me

I rise.. your welcome to

carry me and you

to the dawn

of a St Patrick’s like no other

Where

The children rise together

And

The elders know

This is the dawn of hope and hospitality

Rising   

By the river Boyne

A town says hello – welcome home

and sings hope

For the love that dares

For the unwelcome

For the stranger

For Queer ones everywhere

 

You belong

We belong

We rise together

In your St Patrick’s day  hello

We weave the streets

Drogheda – no bother.

 

Janice is a one of our participants and shared a poem inspired by her grandmother:

Back on my grandomther, Sarah Gibbons', hay day

For a woman to have rights, back in the day

Oh, they would be so scared,

Because their husbands stood tall and broad in their pub,

with their pints raised so high 

together they led women like a herd.

Back street abortions unsafely away hid, 

no contaception, no pill and no durex on oul Fred!

Sure if one woman stood up to be counted

You'd be sure she'd already made their beds

O'h, women's rights, they had no say for no vote, 

no choice or no first dibs on pay day.

I'm glad I wasn't born when women were thrown into the snug, back in the day!

 

A further flavour of the day through pictures:

Cathleen O'Neill leads a group of over 30 amateur poets through an exercise to get our brains working

And so the writing begins (or continues!)

Phil shares from his writing as 'the young boy making his communion"

Fiona sings her own song "Transcendental Loving"

Celine reads the poem 'Poverty' - click on the picture to go to the page with the text of the poem (scroll down when you get there!

More pictures and poetry to follow, as well as lots of audio files with the poems be read at ya!

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