My World and Words

Better Late Than Never by Margaret O’Driscoll

Margaret O'Driscoll
Since my early school days I loved poetry and liked to recite rhymes. My imagination was piqued by the first poem I remember learning, ‘The Fairies’ by Irish poet William Allingham (1824 – 1889). Later I learned the famous 18th century lament, ‘ Caoineadh Airt Úi Laoighaire’ written by  Eibhlín Ní Chonaill (c 1743 – c 1800) on the death of her husband, killed by a British official. I was fascinated by the passion of the lines and the power of recitation. It added to my interest in injustices and I began to write poems about such issues. I also wrote short stories about nature and spirituality, it was something I did as a hobby but I mainly kept it to myself.

I became a mother at eighteen and raised a family of seven so didn’t  have time to even  think about writing during all those years. I home educated for several years and English Literature was one of the State exam subjects that I taught for senior level. I cherished all my children’s school books on poetry and literature and still have them. I became a grandmother at forty two and helped care for many of my grandchildren also, so had little free time to myself.

I was asked to recite poetry at local historical commemorations,  I felt honoured to deliver with passion,  powerful pieces written by some of our patriot poets,  including some poems by Patrick Pearse (1879 – 1916) and Ellen O’Leary (1831 – 1889). Six years ago I was asked to join a local poetry group and that inspired me to take up writing poetry again. I couldn’t attend the group meetings for long, due to work and family commitments and although it was an extremely stressful time, I continued to write whenever I found a few spare moments. I have been a carer for many many years, so need to deal with difficult situations and often emergency situations,which can take it’s toll. Writing has been an escape at times and is also cathartic, but there have been periods when I was too busy to even  think about writing.

 I decided to join an online poetry group a few years ago and was heartened by the very encouraging feedback from other poets. An editor from Hodder Education UK spotted one of my poems on the site and asked permission to reproduce it for an English Literature Exam Revision publication, published in 2016. This was a great boost for me and then I took the plunge to submit  poems to literary journals and was delighted to see them published.

I was encouraged by many people to put a collection of my poems  together and on Bloomsday 2016  I published The Best Things In Life Are Free – my first poetry collection. It has received rave reviews and several poems from the collection have been translated into different languages including Persian and Malayalam, and published worldwide. My poetry appears in journals and anthologies worldwide in English, Punjabi, Hindi and Serbian, among other languages. I have co edited an international book of poetry, ‘Our Only World: Poetry for Planet Earth’, published in Italy, and available on Smashwords and Kindle.

The Best Things In Life Are Free
 ( Title Poem from my book)

A dipper, chestnut plumage
 white bib, dipping
Plunging in a stream
 emerging, feathers dripping

The sun shining through the clouds
 a rainbow that lingers
Sparkling sea, warm golden sand
 trickling through my fingers

Shrimp darting in a rock pool
waves breaking, waves advancing
Children holding hands,
children laughing, children dancing

Seagulls circling in the sky
Gannets diving into the sea
All things that make me happy
 the best things in life are free

I write in classical style and free verse and one of my poems is on the The Society of Classical Poets Journal 2017 published in New York. My calendar poem for children is published by Poets Unite Worldwide in an international poetry book for children, ‘Let’s Laugh Together’ available on Smashwords and Amazon. Several of my poems are being  rearranged and recorded by a classical singer, Aindre Reece-Sheerin, who is based in the USA. An interview by David Ishaya Osu regarding my poetry journey, has been published on Gainsayer. I have read poems from my collection during a radio interview during which I also touch on the issue of domestic violence which is something I feel very strongly about. I compiled the work of several Irish writers for the May edition of Setu Bilingual, following the publication of several of my poems on the previous edition of the journal. Four of my poems are published in the current OPA Anthology Of Contemporary Women’s Poetry which features the work of 99 international women poets. An award winning Indian artist, Anubhav Som, has collaborated with me in depicting several of my poems in watercolours, adding another dimension to my pieces.

In The Forest
 (published in The Society of Classical Poets Journal 2017, New York)

Unspoilt, unique, a soulful place
Ancient oaks all around
Scattered acorns sprouting shoots
New life emerging from the ground

I touch the parchment bark of birch
It’s leaves shimmering in the breeze
My spirit soars in the forest glade
Resurrected there among the trees

It takes me back to another time
The harmony of it all
I stand transfixed in the forest deep
When I hear a cuckoo call

Periwinkles blue as the sky above
Look up from the forest floor
Entwined with white wood anemones
In my mind’s eye for evermore

I have never had a mentor or an agent and I self published my first collection, I like to negotiate my own path in poetry and enjoy reaching out to others worldwide with my words.  

1 comment :

  1. Ashok Kumar Bhatia AkubhaSeptember 3, 2017 at 3:38 PM

    Thanks to Margaret for giving me an opportunity to translate two of her poems to Hindi, which are published in this August 2017 edition of Setu. It's an honour to be associated with Setu and Margaret and hope to work further.


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