Up the Hill

Me and Jill, went up the hill

For a better view, oh what a thrill

The vista sublime

To horizon line

In sea so calm, now mirror still

 

White obelisk gleaming, at the top

So to the peak, we giddily hop

Lines in the sky

As silver jets fly

Hang-gliders run, and off they drop

 

The sumptuous curve, a sight to behold

Of Killiney Bay, better than told

A gentle breeze stirs

The colourful furze

In sunlight bright, as burnished gold

 

Don Cameron 2020

Mapas Obelisk atop Killiney Hill

Mapas Obelisk atop Killiney Hill

 

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Sunday Poem – No. 3 ‘Look Forward’

We can travel now further than before
Restrictions lifted, happy are we folk
Meet family and friends now once more
Relax a little and sharing a joke

The sun is shining bringing up a smile
Too long missed, keen to reveal again
Our long-awaited improvement not to foil
Peace and love a gift from wise old Zen

The tension has dropped and colours do shine
Sounds in the garden back on the wing
Nice to see you looking so bright and fine
Better talking like this than having to ring

Habits are changing, our future unclear
Approach it with strength, no sign of fear

Don Cameron 2020

Float, float on...

Float, float on…

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Bloomsday – By the Bay

Due to the current restrictions the celebration of Bloomsday was much quieter than usual, and this poem is a reflection on my visit to the James Joyce Tower in Sandycove and the local area on the day.

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The Tower is closed, not a Buck in sight

Bloomers are scarce, corona winning out

Queuing at Cavistons, space left and right

The wordy celebration, muted, no doubt

 

Swimmers at the Forty Foot, splashing like mad

Walkers on the pier, taking in the sun

Some period dress on view, even a Joyce cad

Making the most of, the music and fun

 

No sails flapping, on the snot green sea

The empty bay a silent, blue backdrop

Time for a refreshing drink, ‘Fancy some tea?’

‘Oh yes, please, as I feel I’m ready to flop.’

 

So we headed across, the lawn to our dream

No tea for now, but a Teddy’s ice cream!

Don Cameron – 2020

A bay view - Blooming beautiful!

A bay view – Blooming beautiful!

 

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A Song for Now

I was in Spain when the coronavirus was beginning to spread like wildfire. That put an end to any chance I had of playing the planned gigs, and thankfully I managed to leave the day before the Spanish lockdown was put in place. A few days after I returned to Dublin I developed flu-like symptoms and was very worried. All the more so since I found out that a friend on the flight home had tested positive for the virus and spent time in ICU. Thankfully, I was okay and my friend made a full recovery. It was a scary and surreal time and I knew that I had to write about my experience.

I wanted the lyrics of Time Will See This Through to reflect the hope that I had when I was ill and what we all need now. After the song was recorded my friend, Brendan Hayes, shot the video in the beautiful Marlay Park, Rathfarnham. The place has been a lifesaver for me as I live nearby, and have happily spent many hours walking its peaceful tree-lined pathways.

Stay Safe, Everyone

Berni Philbin, (Dublin, June 2020)

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The Bloomsday Boy

Ulysses, James Joyce’s most famous work, is set on June 16th and has become known as Bloomsday. It is celebrated with great gusto and reverence all over the world, and this ‘Limerick for Jimmy’ is my contribution.

____________________________________________________

Looking for a book, with plenty of choice

Try Ulysses, there’s many a device

With Sweny’s for soap

Davy Byrnes’s for hope

Don’t hesitate to open, this one by Joyce

'Sweet lemony wax.'

‘Sweet lemony wax.’

His words are distinctive, an original voice

Always clever, but not always nice

Be it Molly or Bloom

Her uncertain groom

They get your attention, so planned Joyce

Sweny Chemist, Lincoln Place, Dublin

Sweny Chemist, Lincoln Place, Dublin

Dublin the city, his literary paradise

Source of ideas, and wordy precise

Throwaway or Dignam

He could certainly pick ‘em

Oh, what a man, was our Jimmy Joyce

 

Don Cameron 2020

 

The Bloomsady Boy in St Stephen's Green, Dublin

The Bloomsady Boy in St Stephen’s Green, Dublin

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The Long Wait

The Long Wait is a short story set in strange and trying times.

___________________________________________________

‘Great, I’ll call you next week,’ I said and put the phone down. Then I clapped my hands and shouted ‘Yeah’.

Little did I know then that things wouldn’t go according to plan, as the presence of the pandemic put a stop to so much, and sadly took many lives. Restrictions were introduced and I’ like everyone else, just had to hunker down and get on with it. ‘Stay at Home,’ was the order of the day, and with travel limited to 2Km there really was nothing much to do except to grin and bear it – and accept that I was one of the lucky ones. But I still looked forward to that ‘next week’ that had yet to come when I would meet Barbara.

We had met briefly at my friend Paul’s house where she was filling cups of Pimm’s. They were proving very popular and I wasn’t the only one who went back for seconds, and more.

‘Same again?’ she asked.

I nodded. ‘Sure, and with so much fruit in this, I know this is good for me.’

She laughed, and I noted that my glass was definitely fuller than it had been before.

There was a big crowd in the back garden and I spoke with some people who I hadn’t seen since I returned to Dublin, and a few of Paul’s neighbours. It was a fun day, and I did manage to have a brief chat  with Barbara before she had to leave. Later, as I helped Paul tidy up I asked him about Barbara.

‘Interested, are we?’ he said, a cheeky grin on his face.

What have I said?, I thought before replying ‘Yeah…is there a problem?’

He shook his head. ‘None as far as I know, but she’s occupied right now – keeping an eye on her mother.’

‘Is she sick?’

‘No, just old, and in need of care and attention.’

I nodded.

‘Barbara’s a nurse so she’s happy to be able to help, especially as her brother lives in Australia.’

‘I hear you, so can you give me her phone number?’

He gave me Barbara’s number and we shared a final drink. ‘I’ve not see you move so fast before…is it love at first sight?’

I knew he was teasing me but the more I thought about it he might just have been right. I remembered the infectious sound of Barbara’s laugh, and how her brown eyes seemed to shine. ‘Possibly, and you’ll be the second to know.’

Paul frowned for moment and then laughed out loud. ‘The second to know….I love it.’ He leaned over and we clinked bottles.

As the sun went down I left, thanked Paul for a great day and the phone number that was safely stashed away in my back pocket.

*

The next day I picked up the phone and dialled Barbara’s number. I was hoping that she would answer as I didn’t really want to leave a message, and thankfully she did. ‘Hello.’

‘Hi there, I was wondering if there is any Pimm’s left?’

She giggled. ‘Let me check,’ she said, and then we had a short and friendly chat before I asked if she would like to meet sometime.

‘Maybe next weekend,’ she said.

Fine I thought, but then the quarantine was introduced and we never got to meet. And with the travel restrictions there was no possibility of that happening for some time. It was disappointing but a small price to pay for staying healthy. I called her and we spoke about how we were coping and she told me that her mother was not doing well. I knew she was upset and it only got worse when her mother was taken into hospital. She wasn’t suffering with the coronavirus but her breathing was causing a concern. I wished both of them well and waited for more news.

Over the next five or six weeks we spoke at least once a week and realised that we had a few friends in common. We both liked, among other things, music, tennis and reading. And she was interested to know the progress on the book I was writing. ‘I’m almost finished, and if you like you can be the first person to read it.’

‘That’d be great. I look forward to getting it,’ she said and paused before adding ‘so you trust me with your bestseller?’

‘Of course,’ I replied immediately, there being no other answer.

‘I can be a tough critic; you might not like what I have to say.’

‘I know, but I’ll take that chance.’

There was silence before Barbara said ‘Good…that’s very good of you.’

‘Right, I’ll send it to you by the end of the week…and you can get busy with a red pen.’

She laughed and I did too. ‘Got to go…and thanks,’ she said and hung up.

*

With her mother in hospital and working in the same building Barbara was busy and we managed only brief phone calls. It was understandable especially when her mother’s condition deteriorated and she was place in an Intensive Care Unit. It was, as they say, a ‘touch-and-go’ situation but, thankfully, she came through it. I could hear the relief in Barbara’s voice when she told me the good news.

‘And I just want to say that it’s been great talking with you, Joseph, over the last few weeks. With my brother in Australia I really needed to tell someone about what was going on…and you’ve been a great help.’

I wasn’t expecting that but it was nice to hear. ‘You’re very welcome, Barbara, and I suppose it’s like the old saying ‘’A problem shared is a problem halved.’’ Know what I mean?’

There was a long pause before Barbara replied. ‘You’re so right…and thanks again.’

‘Anytime,’ and then I told her that I had a plan for where we would meet.

‘Tell me.’

‘Never,’ I joked, more than happy to hear her laugh gain. ‘Well, the restrictions are being eased next week, so maybe we can celebrate if that’s the right word to use.’

‘It is…and I’m almost finished your book.’

‘And what do you think of it?’

‘Hey, if you have a plan that you’re keeping to yourself then I’m certainly keeping my thoughts on your book to myself…for now.’

‘Touche…and should I be worried?’

‘I guess you’ll just have to wait…won’t you.’

There was nothing I could say to that. ‘You got me there. Ok, like I said a long, long time ago I’ll call you next week.’

‘Good…and my mother will be coming home in a few days.’

‘A double celebration, eh?’

That got another laugh, a perfect end to our conversation.

*

The days raced by, and then I called Barbara. ‘Hi there, I was wondering if you’d like to meet up?’

‘Sure do. So have you a time and place in mind.’

I had, and we met at the front gates of the Peoples’ Park in Dun Laoghaire on a day when the sun was shining from a cloudless sky. I smiled as Barbara approached, noticing the brown envelope under her arm. I knew that I was in for a critique, but right then I really didn’t care as I was so happy to see my favourite bartender again.

‘Hi,’ she said.

‘Hi, and how are you?’

‘I’m fine…considering that I’m meeting a stranger.’

I frowned. ‘Stranger, is it?’

‘Well, I know we spoke for a little while at Paul’s house, but I’ve never spoken so much with someone I don’t really know.’

‘It’s a first for me, too…and I’m delighted that you’re here.’

Barbara smiled and I could see her searching look. ‘So, where are we going? I mean, it’s the middle of the afternoon and there are hardly any places open.’

I had expected this. ‘I know, but this is the best I could manage in the circumstances, ok?’

‘O..k.’ she replied, her eyes questioning.

‘This way,’ I said, and we walked through the park, past the hissing fountain, the curved benches and groups of people sitting on the grass, and onto the promenade.

‘Here we are,’ I said stopping outside Teddy’s ice cream shop, the best in south Dublin.

Barbara smiled. ‘I’m impressed…you really do know how to treat a lady, don’t you?’

I shrugged. ‘That’s me. Now, what would the lady like?’ I asked, and that was how our first date began. The long wait was finally over and, as we sat on a bench touched by a gentle sea breeze, we chatted and laughed as only familiar strangers could.

Teddy's ready!

Teddy’s ready!

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WB Yeats – Happy Birthday

William Butler Yeats was born on 13th June 1865 in 5, Sandymount Avenue, south Dublin, the eldest of four children. Ireland’s greatest poet was one of the founders of the Abbey Theatre, a leading member of the Irish Literary Revival, a Senator in the new Irish Free State and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.  (I will arise is dedicated to the great man.)

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I will arise

 

I will arise and go now, to the big shop

A place long-closed and almost forgotten

After such strange effort, my goodies I drop

Please don’t break, the eggs I’ve just gotten

 

It was fun being there, the place was right stuffed

Crowds gathered for ages, talking bargains galore

Anticipation finally over, we pushed and huffed

So much dizzy excitement, never once a chore

 

I will arise and go now, be sure to make it count

The place looking lovely, under a cloudless sky

The haggling was tough, but I got a dis-count

After such a busy day, time for bye-bye!

 

Don Cameron 2020

 

Bust of WB Yeats in Sandymount Green, Dublin

Bust of WB Yeats in Sandymount Green, Dublin

 

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Sunday Poem – No. 2 ‘It ain’t over’

The danger is too close so do not look away
It’s dancing among us just waiting to pounce
We must be very careful all night and all day

Medics are working hard this pest to trounce
Good behaviour and habits are vital to be
Pay attention all the time and do not flounce

Reopening’s a blessing for long walks by the sea
With family and friends to meet and be near
Long dimmed pleasure now bringing such glee

Do not let up now and we can be rid of the fear
Dismiss this menace so we can once again hope
For the life we want and hold onto so dear

Never forget those who sadly no longer cope
Remember to be positive, that is your scope

Don Cameron 2020

Oh to be beside the sea...

Oh to be, beside the sea…

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Sunday Poem – No. 1 ‘The Struggle’

I shall compare thee to a pain in the head
Killing silently, softly, be it day or night
You’re everywhere, filling the world with dread
So small and lethal, hiding in plain sight

It’s life and death, as we struggle to move
Taking great strain for us just to be
Chemists and scientists at work to prove
Your days are numbered, soon you’ll see

The spirit is strong and wanting to stay
So much trouble now making it fierce
The sunlight is rising and coming your way
When we will finally, your web to pierce

We will overcome the dark and fatal sting
Beating you the pest and comfort bring

Don Cameron 2020

 

Into the light...

Into the light…

 

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Southern Rocks

Killiney Beach

Killiney Beach

A walk on Killiney Beach is always welcome, and as I descended the steep steps the breeze blowing in from the sea was warm and infused with a familiar saltiness. With the sun high in the blue sky it was ‘the place to be’.
As I made my way along the beach I noticed small piles of stones close to the cliff and wondered how did they get there? On closer inspection I saw that they had been created by previous visitors and many of the stones had indeed been painted. It was the same with each of the piles, and I noted names written on some, colourful images, drawings and quotations on others.

Top Rock

Top Rock

There was even a nicely painted image of a local rock star, who I’m sure would be delighted to know that he’s finally ‘made it to Killiney Beach’. Although I did not see anybody painting stones while I was there, I suspect that with the good weather and more visitors on the beach this local attraction, the original ‘open-air gallery’, will continue to grow and entertain. Well done to all those rock artists – rock on!

Bono - 'because he's a ROCKer'

Bono – ‘because he’s a ROCKer’

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