Biography

Somewhere In Ireland

Poems in Somewhere in Ireland, A Journey of Discovery form a narrative of the author’s experiences traveling in Ireland in 2010 and 2011. Another trip is planned for June 2012. Ireland is well known for the way it makes people fall in love with it.

Poems reach from Celtic origins to the present, weaving through time and distance to tell one Irish family’s story. Somewhere in Ireland is a tribute to Linda's grandfather, William Shannon, who played an essential role in her upbringing. Says Linda, "In a way I brought him with me to the homeland he had never seen."

About Linda Whittenberg, Irish author Joan McBreen commented: "I would say that at a psychic level Ireland has probably always been your first country! How come it took so long for you to get here?"

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Biography


Scriofa i Runda (Written in Secret)
Mixed Media Collage by Lillie Morris

 

PENTIMENTO

Green pastures, amber fields 
sweep across valleys and hills,
hectares defined by stone walls,
keeping one man’s cows from
another man’s clover.

So beguiling this landscape,
easy to miss the shadow images
beneath the vibrant color.
A pentimento,
life nearly squeezed out of the people
whose crime was being Irish.

Layer upon layer of rural charm
painted over--
fierce rebellions and wars,
blighted crops, penal laws.
They bleed through
only if you look close enough.

Stone upon stone
like broken granite lace*
embellishing a landscape
so sublime one could forget,
so lovely it wrenches the heart. 

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"You’d swear the hills were edged with broken granite lace…"
from “These Dry Stone Walls”, song by Dave Goulder


Earrach in Eirenn (Springtime in Ireland)
Mixed Media Collage by Lillie Morris

MOODY LION

Some days the Atlantic
laps the west coast of Ireland
like a mother licking her cub,
but no one forgets she can open her jaws and roar.

Cottages and barns, picturesque on seaside hills,
stand ready to confront ocean tantrums.
Battered and bludgeoned through millennia, 
these shores have suffered 
the tumultuous marriage of land and water.

Crumbling fortresses and towers
that kept lookout for armadas
still stand against ferocious gales,
winds wild enough to level stone buildings,
flip roofs made of tile. 

Castles with turrets house ghosts.
Seamen, lost at sea, roam the Burren at night, 
their voices converging with surf.
Dolmens mark burial places
of those who rise up in flowers.



Beneath the Surface
Mixed Media Collage by Lillie Morris

MEN IN GRAY SUITS AND HATS

A sea of gray suits surges through
the streets of Dublin, an Irish political rally 
photographed circa 1930.
Serious-faced Irishmen, stern for the cause.
 
Under those hats, it’s the face of my grandfather
over and over—prominent nose, lofty forehead,
sharp-boned cheeks.
 
Under those hats worried eyes
witness to all they have borne.
My uncle had those eyes, gray-blue.
The only son, responsible
for whatever went wrong.
 
My grandfather’s eyes, brown eddies,
his whole story in them, a gentle heart
and the will to stare trouble down.
 
Gray suits, gray hats everywhere in Ireland.
In a County Kerry town, mourners mingle
on the sidewalk after a funeral lets out.
Talk out front after is part of the ritual.
It reassures them they’re not the one dead.
 
Ladies in black, men in gray suits, hat in hand.
Shoulders of the tall men recall
Grandfather’s straight back.
I hear him telling me, as he often did: 
No matter what, remember
to stand straight and tall.



On the Edge
Mixed Media Collage by Lillie Morris

MORNING BELONGS TO COWS AND CROWS

Guernseys, Jerseys, Holsteins white and black,
an occasional Ayrshire red.
They maneuver the hills, necks stretched
for clusters of grass.
It’s hard work gathering enough fuel for a cow.
They’re oblivious to the roaring Atlantic
crashing on cliffs below.
Breeching whales give them no bother.
They pay no mind to clouds rolling in
with the look of rain.

They have no interest in Crow,
just landed on a fence
to peruse possibilities,
head bobbing as he does fancy footwork,
side-stepping the thin rail.
On alert for seeds, this indomitable bird
settles for crumbs, anything edible.
He’s never heard of cows.