Unconnected Observations on gay marriage, poetry, people in their 60s . . .

The principle of equality just might be upheld if the gay marriage referendum is passed. Might, I caution. If so, what a new Ireland this will be. It’s not that anything will change on an invisible level, but visibly, officially, a statement will have been made. The paradox is though, that many people who are in heterosexual legal unions privately question why anyone would be in such a hurry to get tied up in any legal union. But again, it’s a question of choice: choice about going legal, and choice about exiting the legal choice you made to throw in your lot with someone of the same sex if things don’t work out.

As soon as you think you should suspend judgement on someone else, chances are you’ve judged them anyway. However, the attempt at suspension is often preferable to the outright carp. Carping is usually all about comparing lives anyway, and just not worth it, as nobody knows what world anyone else actually inhabits.

Most women in their 60s are still involved in caring for others. Quite often, so are men in their 60s, something which tends to be overlooked.

Women in divorce and custody situations have the capacity to poison their children against their father. This is where female power is at its most cunning, deadly and destructive.

I have a few regrets, but they don’t consume me. As the present runs through me I try to carry the load of the past lightly, with occasional levity. The present is where we dodge the bullets, keep partying with friends, keep enjoying our work and our loves. The future is a place on loan in the present, bursting with possibility. This is rocket fuel for optimists.

If people could stop fighting about language and about religion, we would already be living in paradise. My language is not better than yours. My god is not better than yours either. Nor does the reverse apply.

Ireland is full of the cruelty that comes from material deprivation. Being materially comfortable is better for us than the opposite. It’s possible to be miserable and unhappy in comfort, and to address problems in a better way.

The Irish poetry scene is dull and over-inflated, with an anachronistic, dated sense of its own importance. It fears to bite the hand that feeds it. Opposition in any manner means disapproval and automatic deselection. I look forward to new life being breathed into it as the work reflects the range of cultural influences actually in existence here today.

Irish poets need to look more at language on an almost paleontological level. We need to take the tools – the words – and break them down to their elements. After all, native Irish writers come from a bifurcated linguistic cultural experience. Surely that means something. It can still be a lyric, but even so …


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