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18 Jan 2022

Then & Now: ‘Newspapers on the floor’ - Tom Aherne

Then & Now: ‘Newspapers on the floor’ - Tom Aherne

Then & Now - Tom Aherne

NEWSPAPERS On the Floor by Ger White is a book of poems on Irish traditional ways.

Ger is a daughter of the late Paddy Faley from Glenbawn, Ballyhahill who was a noted poet and writer whose work was renowned and appreciated over his long lifetime.

Her sister Peg Prendeville is also a poet and writer and author of ‘The Purple Pencil’. Her other sister, photographer Bridie Murphy, recently published her own book 'Connections'.

Her other sisters Helen and Philomena are equally creative and talented in other areas.

Ger's mother Ellen sadly passed from this life when the children were very young and Ger credits her uncle Dan and wife Ciss for taking care of her and instilling traditional values.

Her early work was published in the Ballyguiltenane Rural Journal. Ger now lives in East Grinstead in England and has got involved in writing circles there in the ‘Word Lovers Club’ in Sussex.

Her work has appeared in anthologies in Clarendon House Publications, Sweety Cat Press Publications and on East London Radio. I include four of the 107 poems in Ger's first book.

Uncle Dan Boots

Stand on my boots he said

I balance carefully

I can only reach around his knee

And careful to not let him see

The joy upon my face

To share this special place

With the best man on the land

With my lovely uncle Dan.

Ger White comes from a strong Celtic line of traditional Irish customs, stories and songs. She writes to bring pleasure to others and for the continuity of a simple way of living and entertainment.

She sees herself as a spiritual person, very grounded and connected with life. She is grateful to be married to the gentlest of men Barry, who takes care of everything allowing her time to splurge on writing!

When not writing her pleasures are walks in the country with friends followed by a nice cuppa tea and chat at the end. Her poems are story poems for the coffee table covering areas of human nature, childhood, beauty, betrayal, loss, gardening, the world around us, “a capture of life's moments”.

She hopes they encourage people to seek the beauty of their surroundings. For this reason, they align closely with Irish poets John O'Donoghue, Brendan Kennelly and Seamus Heaney.

Social Distancing

Clouds form shapes across the sky, togetherness gives them form

Hailstones fall a million at once, none would make sense alone

The herd does best, when they graze together

Helps them stay warm in coldest weather

The band with a drummer playing alone

Is a mournful sound with his team mates gone?

In hurling we need a team of fifteen

Playing the good match on the playing field

Even then we need a pair

Our team alone would indeed feel bare

Lone paper screams for pen and words

Also, in fighting we need-TWO swords

To boil a kettle and make some tea

Combines many elements we don't see

The shovel and spade, the plough and horse

Only together will these have force

Two eyes, two ears, it's in pairs of two

Where our bodies work best for me and you

What good indeed would directions be

Without true north from south to see

How to head east without knowing west?

Confusion would reign- we'd be in a fine mess!

Two poles on earth-one north, one south

Even Stone Age figured this one out

No need to say more-what have said, I have said

Time enough to be ONE is when our body lays dead.

In the introduction Ger writes: These poems which follow are for you and for me and for most people who value nature, traditional ways and the beauty of the landscape about us.

They cover Irish nature, Christianity, beauty, loss and as such align with our other Irish poets, Seamus Heaney, John O'Donoghue and Seamus O'Rourke.

Ger was born in West Limerick, Ireland to a family of poets and storytellers into a traditional Irish thatched cottage which sat in a grove of trees in West Limerick looking onto the Kerry Hills, an Irish Rambling House.

Raised in a “Rambling House” meant neighbours called each night and told stories round the fire. This landscape is how I have laid out this book.

I hope you will walk with me through these beautiful Irish fields and enjoy them as we meet along the way animals, trees, boglands and hidden treasures. Later let's put the kettle on and have a cuppa and relax. We will allow nature to take us where she will.

Peg Prendeville, poet of ‘The Purple Pencil’ once said: “Poems by Ger have the ability to lift the soul and bring it to a place of peace and calm”. And this is my wish for you , my lovely reader.

Don't forget to write

Don't forget to write!

It's not like we forget

More like we never intended

Yet mothers wait

For the postman at the gate

''Any news from abroad?''

''They're all doing great''

Then mum hides her tears

And swallows her fears

How quickly they forget

The love-nest she set

She taught them their letters

They ought to know better!

So, each day she waits

For the post, by the gate

Praying with all her might

That they won't forget to write.

Grant P Hudson Clarendon House Publications wrote 'Tender, evocative, humorous, White's poems take us back to an age now lost. A time of innocence and youthful energy, of deeper communion with nature and with each other. Her words give us glimpses of a lighter, brighter, warmer world'.

Jim Bates Author of Periodic Stories wrote' Ger's poems touch my heart with their gentle humour, awareness of nature, and their ability to delve into the magical wonder that is the human spirit'.

Tony Cranston Radio Presenter Talking Stories wrote ' Ger is the poet who made me see the landscape around me in a new light with ‘The Giant’.

I will conclude with a few verses of Newspapers on the Floor, one of Ger's first poems.

The weekend activities have begun, the pot boils on the hob

As water and polish are required for all the little jobs

And now the concrete floor is scrubbed and to keep it clean this way

We place upon it newspaper we've read from yesterday.

But as we place them underneath our feet we stop and gaze

Sure, we haven't read these news items now seen before our face

For when these papers are spread about, they seem to contain much lore

Yes, news is more entertaining from the newspapers on the floor.

We stand on John B's profile and mash him to the ground,

We read of local races with foxes, dogs and hounds,

We see again the week's events we thought we'd read before

But they're juicier than ever from the newspapers on the floor.

The book can be purchased for €15 at Paddy O'Rourke's Ballyhahill, Mullane’s Knockdown and from Peg Prendeville, 087-6826878, or through Amazon

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