Four people, some of whom are writer buddies, began Pendemic as the impact of lockdown on our creative community became obvious. The online site went from strength to strength, and will wind up shortly.
All the contributions will find a permanent home, however. University College Dublin has decided to take the accumulation of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction that makes up Pendemic, and will archive the content.
I haven’t written a post here about COVID19 and the lockdown in the west of Ireland, though I did contribute to this article in the Irish Times during the first months.
I’ve found it difficult to summon up any energy for writing new work about these days. To be honest, enough people seemed to have no problem doing so, and I couldn’t see that I’d add anything to the existing columns!
One poem came to me, however, quite early one morning. It was during the quiet time, here in the Burren. Hardly any cars, no overhead jet trails. Wonderful weather. I could sit on the bench in the front garden in comfort; enjoying the sun and the views over Galway Bay. If a neighbour or someone from out the road cycling into the village passed by, there was time to stop for a socially-distanced chat – in the knowledge that a stream of holiday traffic on its way to the Cliffs of Moher wasn’t going to drown out the conversation, or beep at someone pulled up inconveniently in the middle of the road. To be honest, I miss that hush around the place. Especially as I write today, when the cars passing the door haven’t given me a moment’s peace. But that’s what you get when you live on the R67 in the height of summer!
So – the poem. One morning, in the quiet time, I heard a sound overhead. It took a wee bit longer to than usual to recognise that it was a Search & Rescue helicopter. Around here, it’s not a good sound to hear. Someone walker is injured in the Burren uplands, or there’s a medical emergency in the village, or someone has fallen – or jumped – from the Cliffs of Moher. That, quite simply, is where this poem came from. It was published in Pendemic, and you can read it here.
An ambulance has just whizzed by, sirens at full tilt.
But I’ll leave you with a few photos of the place at its loveliest; during the quiet time.
Photo: Ballyvaughan, the old pier. ©Karen J McDonnell
Photo: the approach to Ballyallaban. © Karen J McDonnell
This is where things are ‘normal’ for me. Sitting in the sun outside The Larder café: with a treat, a cup of Anam coffee, and a good book. That’s when it’s almost possible to believe that COVID19 isn’t lurking somewhere.
Wear the mask. Wash the hands. Go easy on yourselves. Be kind.