Avoiding the tempest

Feb 28th, 2011 | By | Category: Pop thinking

Creedon plays good stuff this evening – blues and then Springsteen tracks before a beautiful air to close the programme.  He reads a text thanking him for playing cajun on Friday evening from someone in Dublin port waiting for the ‘Ulysses’.

There would have been evenings in Dublin, walking Dun Laoghaire pier or going down the road from Killiney to Dalkey when the lights of the huge Irish ferry would be seen out in Dublin Bay, making its steady progress landwards.

To be in Dublin port on the last day of February, though, where would you be going?  A car would be necessary and with a car you could go anywhere.  To sit in Dublin port on the eve of the spring with the chance to go anywhere that took your fancy, it would be the stuff of dreams.

The stuff of dreams? From where do the words come? Reading lines from Shakespeare’s The Tempest too often.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

We are such stuff as dreams are made on.  Being fifty, the dreams are insubstantial these days.  More glimpses of something different than dreams of a dreamlike quality.  Dreams are of moments like sitting in the car park waiting for a cross channel ferry on a balmy summer’s evening; driving south on an anonymous autoroute surrounded by rolling wooded countryside; hearing Basque voices cheer the XVs of Bayonne or Biarritz; feeling the warmth of morning sunshine in Dordogne villages.  Dreams are without ambition, they are reclusive, quiet, eirenic, insubstantial.

There was a dream for years of writing a novel; not a bestseller, but something that would make a few quid, enough to get by, enough to rent a small house in the Midi and live on a diet of baguette, brie and vin de pays while contemplating. But what would there be to contemplate – passing years, unfinished work, a lack of achievement, life rounded with a sleep? Dreams assuming substance shift from poetry to prose; from a hundred possibilities to a single reality.

To board the ‘Ulysses’ on a night in March would risk sailing out into a rough Irish Sea, risk the extreme unpleasantness of seasickness.  Much better to be on a road in Co Laois planning the work of the days ahead.

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  1. Welcome to the age of Ozymandias.

    Having said that I’m sure your life has been a lot more than a lack of achievement. Ask your parishioners and your family 🙂

    And there are probably worse places than Laois. My great grandmother was from that country. See, I am following you round the country, so you’d better behave yourself.

    Rath ar an obair.

  2. Does that mean I’ll get a poem by Shelley?

    My ambitions in life were to be a journalist for a British national newspaper and to be a member of the House of Commons – neither were achieved!

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