Author Archives: martinoregan

Holnap és hónap kettő

Holnap és hónap kettő

So if you’re to look at words with the foreign eye you might be tempted to see some familiarity, even order. As a child learning to spell, the word together was always broken up into the sum of its parts, to-get-her, and though I never did find out if anyone ever did get her, or for that matter why she needed to be got, it helped me to remember. But in the world of foreign languages sometimes the familiar can have unforeseen, dare I say, deadly consequences. Now if you get to feeling a tad sheepish because you said you’re pregnant instead of embarrassed (the Spanish word embarazada means pregnant), it mightn’t amount to anything more than a knowing giggle, but perhaps you’re trying to flex your health food savvy in France and think that asking if the relevant food contains preservatives is a good idea, just remember that the French word Préservatif means something ever so slightly different.
As for together, I later learnt that the root is more to do with to gather, which makes perfect sense if you consider the full meaning of both words. That still doesn’t help me with spelling and therefore she will forever more be bound to the pursuit, inextricably linked to the getter in the equation.

Moving Back Again

Moving Back Again

And once again I sit
Another last time to contemplate,
The kitchen’s almost bare
The living room hollow echoes
As the kids watch something to distraction.
A cool draught saunters in for a second
Hand in hand with the sounds of the city
And then back to the inside
The plughole gurgling at a deeper depth
Threatening the surface
The tap hasn’t dripped for some minutes
Somewhere an awful song sung in Hungarian
If the original is any better I cannot tell
I’m just not in the mood.
Plastic crackles, the reality where a fireplace would feature
But let’s return from twee
My geansaí grey but I’m not a Yeatsian fisherman.
I sit here a moment in a kitchen that will fade
Realising and those moments in blend almost already gone.

©The Hairy Teacher, March, 2018

Egri ídős emberek

A little spot away across the bridge
from where the night before
the party came on loud.
Set merged within the outside table seats,
and a couple to the right – a ripe old age.
When finally they arise and walk away
their every limp and sway a matted mated edge
A testament to a bond grown aged yet strong
as they fade with time’s embrace into my past.

©The Hairy Teacher, March, 2018

Love Once More

Love Once More

That far flung dalliance with Destiny
Forever fettered by my idea of beauty
Instead searching as I do the memories
Trawling all the bars, as Stu said,
All the vacant corners of the heart
Where ridicule and sentiment abide
Torn close because the distance threatens
To ensue a truth as well as any falsehood too
The latter factored in beyond my conscious mind
The former as much as always a surprise.
“And yet your talk of women only…”
Tis true
And this because the void therein was once defined
Inside the mind
Inside the soul
Of youth and sorrow
Inside the pain that brought no pity, and so
I rose a desecrated entity by my own hand
And with the lip and glisten
Kiss and touch
And doubt and anger
Only fear
And with the fear I straddled beauty on a dockside
And somewhere in a moment I found Life where breath no longer reigned
I found shape in a distortion of the romance in which I had failed…
And it is now the very essence of my being.

©The Hairy Teacher, March, 2018

Down a Dream Drunken

Down a Dream Drunken

A new path laden with old shadows
Still directing towards the land you dream to go
But it’s different.

The steps of strangers daggered
The footfalls decorated
And yet it’s the swagger, that damn’d swagger
That throws you off this time.

Was it this, that stride interrupted,
Was it? That the dawn bellowed forth its silence in?

Was it this or another vague Dominion
That spelt truth and yet imposing, gently
Deceived you into :
Being a downfall still a dream but essentially All reality?

Vásárhelyi Halász: A painting in a metro

Vásárhelyi Halász: A painting in a metro

The boatman laying up his boat to tar
The willow’s tail threaded through the swallow’s
Held high, suspended
The work is underway.
The shore beckons as all shores do to those who know them,
Grew up by them,
Embracing tenderly.
The duck within the grass, behind the tree
Tries reaching-
Trying to bend your will
But you don’t let it.
To the waters and the wild
Being drawn once more
A destiny beheld
If you will let it.

Holnap és hónap

Holnap és hónap

Holnap és hónap Part 1: The Digression
One up road, I’m sorry to say, does not sound like van apród, at least not to a native English speaker. We make a distinction, you see, between the V and the W (among other things). In Hiberno-English, or as it’s more broadly known, Irish English ( not Irish by the way, that’s Gaelic) this is even further exacerbated when you take into consideration the pronunciation of Up. No way the ‘ap’ in apród is going to sound anything like up, and don’t bother with the “but that’s how it is in British English” British English, otherwise known as RP, or Received Pronunciation, is a fabricated nonsense of ye old British colonialism, and should therefore have no place within the language learning classroom, and even where you may argue towards a model, and RP is convenient Cos of all those dictionaries and things, it still isn’t the De Facto English. It’s something but it isn’t the be all and end all. If you’ve learnt English that way, you’ve learnt nothing (martin@thehairyteacher.com for lessons to set you back on the path to real knowledge). But even when you take RP into consideration the V/W distinction is glaring, yes glaring, so a Wet Vet isn’t a stutter, it’s an uncomfortable condition. A Volkswagen beetle isn’t a Folksvagen because as English speakers we don’t give a toss about how the Germans say it. Protest all ye want, but if you are one of the ones arguing for RP then suck on the tail pipe of this reality: English is the Germanic dialect come home to bite the hand that nurtured it. From an alternative dialectical position RP doesn’t warrant the respect you’d extend it, so if you’ve ever argued in its favour but fight vehemently for the right of Germans to say F for their V and V for their W, that’s all well and good (in fact I agree as it’s their language) but you’re only contradicting yourself. RP is RP because of arrogance and prestige, in as much as mispronunciation of other people’s language is the privilege of that same class of people. Call it ignorance when the working class holiday in your pubs and on your beaches and yet label it eccentricity when it’s hob nobs in your five star hotels, finger fooding in your diplomatic circles, or basically expecting you to bow to their every need, even if it’s in your own country. The Queen came to Cork, but the Fishmonger stole the day. You see, that’s the Corkonian way.
Before I digress let me return to the beginning and, whether you have change or not, let me just make it clear. In English, any English, Van (The Hungarian word) never sounds like One (the English word) but if it ever becomes accepted as the standard Pronunciation I may by a conservatism borne of age, protest, but in my Irish heart I’ll also delight at the notion that napról napra the English are losing control of their language. As an English teacher I can only hope that I’LL stay favourably ahead of the trends, or at least not lag too far behind. Van Apród, One Up Road…I get. A student dealing with difference needs to draw some familiarity and that’s why in this Snowday I’ll never dwell too much on the Whereday even less on the supposed error as English speakers and learners alike may have spotted in that preposition.

 

© The Hairy Teacher, March, 2018

Hollow

Hollow

The darkness casts long its net tonight
The Beaver on its heels not yet fully alive
In the bite drop temperature inclining still
A notion breathes life and breeding beats.
The green sold out to cyclic adds its flourish of orange then red
And stepping tip tap to the black then white
The progress towards wherever is a destination
Spelt celestial in the flight taken path across THE satellite
While other routes marked for what is planned
A momentary passage and yet the one of man.

©The Hairy Teacher, March, 2018

It comes naturally

It comes naturally

The giant drill bit seering the muddied earth
A choir of angels in tow with every twist
The coil resounding the voices aligned
Till the foreman’s call brings silence.
Then the majorettes come-screeching
Whining? Marching?
Tap-dancing a tattoo?
From a whisper to a roar
Though not yet a low flying jet.
Is it Paddy’s day? New York?
Is spontaneous celebration the order of the day?
Surely not! And then-
Then two workmen appear…
Pushing three lockers on wheels
Grim faces hiding, like the shut doors,
What’s really going on inside.

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