Monday, 29 March 2010

The Seventh Sense

This was on Thursday after the Poetry Slam at Lawnswood. A contrast! What has impressed me during the LitFest is the diversity of our audiences, which have encompassed many groups living in Headingley and outside it. The Seventh Sense - A Sense of Place was performed by Lucht Focail and Friends, and was organised in association with Irish History Month. The theme was perfect for the occasion. It wasn't all Ireland, though there was a reading of a poem in the ancient Erse language (Sean Dún na nGall) by Annie O'Donnell, and I listened to Yeats's The Lake Isle of Innisfree (eternally good for a recitation, that one) for the second time this LitFest, from the same eloquent mouth. Bel Connolly read Moiza Alvi's very relevant The Laughing Moon with sensitivity, Linda Marshall read her Headingley Rocks and Síle Moriarty referred to one of the places she comes from in The Mermaid in Birmingham.

Dancers from the Joyce O'Donnell School of Irish Dancing took the floor a couple of times, accompanied by Des and Kevin Hurley and the evening closed with a welcome reading of Seamus Heaney's Bogland by Síle. Here's her apt poem for the occasion, which was printed on the back of the programme -

Place names carry history:

the trail from Kirkstall to Monkbridge;
the slow wind of pack horse to wagon
tracked earth to tarmac;
the greedy dissolution of Kirkstall
on Cromwell’s report
and the later distaff despoliation of Ireland;
the estates of Cardigan and Beckett
summed by semis and terraces
and the oaken wapentake
quenched in the Skyrack;
the Norse mermaid of legend
sanitised by Starbucks now
drinks latte and mourns her breasts;
the lane at the Three Horseshoes
opens the Wetewood
which killed a prince of Abyssinia
with cold miasma;
the Lounge, eclipsed by the Arc
lingers in local politics
while the Cottage Road,
a refugee, has screened since 1912.

These place names carry history -
they start with capital letters.

Síle Moriarty 2010

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