Sunday, May 29, 2016

Two Poems

Oisin Large's poems in the recent Senior Poetry Prize competition were commended by Mr Canning: "Oisin wrote a strong body of poems and his experimental one ‘Opposite Line’ very interesting and his coming of age piece celebrating his mother whilst saying goodbye was poignantly sweet."

OPPOSITE line and other sorts

What exactly was it about?
Was it below the above line or
Was I absent from its presence?
It was my lack of abundance and
I refused to accept the truth of line,

Yet I must admit that I denied the signs
That the child gave me, I thought I was an adult
Who knew all about the opposite line.

What happened before the line after I asked?
Were you too afraid to be brave or
Was the line possibly impossible to see?

These modern questions do not answer these ancient riddles
This is beginning to end.
I amuse myself, knowing that I bore you.
A fine mess this is.

The opposite line is bitter-sweet.
It is black on white lines.
It has no body, no, only a soul.
It cannot be fixed, as it is broken in many ways.
When it is cloudy, then it will be clear to you as to were the line is.
Do Tell Me When You Find It…

The time has come

The time has come, mother; I am leaving.
Hear me, I am the last one from the nest
And know that you have helped me believing
That I have the potential to be with the rest.

The time has come, mother; for me to embrace the next life.
To learn of new friends and of old worlds
I can see their many faces, those eager eyes
That I can see from afar, I will have new wings.

I remember the little things that you taught me.
I remember your unconditional love
That you gave me in the darkest hours
Erasing my bad dreams.

I remember the toy soldiers.
I remember the little things
Even with the weight of me on your shoulders
And accepting my blame, again and again.

I am here now, mother; to pronounce my departure
I will leave soon, mother; to walk before you
The time has come, mother; to say Thank You.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Peter Dix Memorial Prize for Poetry 2016

Congratulations to Helena Gromotka, winner of this year's Senior Poetry Prize. 

Mr Canning, the judge, writes that her poems show "a very mature control of language, precisely distilled but intimately conversational. What was most impressive was how her poems contained and restrained powerful feelings and emotions."  Here are two of her entries (some from other candidates will shortly be published).


Maybe coffee stunted my growth, or maybe
It taught me to associate bitterness with desire,

To see the world through darkening eyeliner
And expect disappointment, and pain
that won’t be fixed through appointments.

Maybe cigarettes killed my lungs, or maybe
They just taught me how to breathe out negativity

To worry less about age and more about agility
And run out of breath running after buses:
Red-cheeked, like a sunset.

Every time the sun sets it rises,
And every time I’m born, I die.

The world is washed clean again
And again, it waits for me to catch up
Before moving on toward tomorrow.
And tomorrow, God help me,
I will wait for myself.


I’m drowning in a salty sea,
One I have produced.
Red, blue and yellow glares
As my breaths silently reduce.

I hear muffled voices
With words I can’t quite make out.
I think I hear my mother
How I wish she wouldn’t shout.

I think I hear my father.
I think that he is crying.
I think that he is fearful;
Fearful of me dying.

I feel my heart has stopped
But why am I still
If this is the afterlife,
I wasn’t thinking clear.

I see the doctors tell my parents
There was nothing they could do.
Their precious little angel
Just could not make it through.

Fast forward to my funeral
As I watch from the back
And everyone cries the same
Salty sea, in uniforms of black.

Monday, May 16, 2016

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Friday, May 13, 2016

'King Lear' revision resources

Six revision podcasts -
The opening scene
The play's bleak vision
The Good Guys - Kent and Albany
Quotation auto-test
Blindness and seeing
The End of the Play

Five ShowMe analyses (series not yet complete)
Act I scene i - Confusion and uncertainty.
Act I scene i - Love and be silent. 
Act I scene i - See better.
Act I scene i - Unruly waywardness.
Act i scene ii - Excellent foppery.

The Shakespeare Yippy search engine: look for key words, test yourself on quotations etc.

The entire play (copy to your device). 

The King Lear LitChart

National Theatre video talks:-
Kent and the Fool
Goneril, Regan and Cordelia
Gloucester, Edmund and Edgar
Lear - Simon Russell Beale 

Roger Allam as Lear below with 'Blow winds, and crack your cheeks...' below. And see Riz Ahmed here as Edmund with 'Now, gods, stand up for bastards.'   

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

'The Columban', July 1916

An extraordinary project is approaching its final stages, with the digitisation of past editions of The Columban (the school magazine) and the Old Columban Society magazines, through the generous work of Patrick Hugh Lynch. They are a goldmine for all interested in the history of the College. In June there will be a formal launch of the project, but for the moment here is a taster - the first edition of The Columban after the Easter 1916 rising. As you can read for yourself, in those days the College didn't exactly support the nationalist consensus ...

(click on the arrows to zoom in, on the arrows again for the closest look).