Archives for posts with tag: Ireland



by LeeAnne McIlroy Langton

Years from now
Your grandchildren will
See what you dream of
This last night of your hunger
During the passage from Belfast
Across a sea of storms and slave bones:
In abundance—
Phosphorescent corn bursting from husks,
Blood-colored tomatoes bouncing out of crates
Like giant rubber balls,
Pistachios and almonds raining silently from leafy boughs,
Lettuce heads blossoming open like gardenias,
Grapefruits the size of cannonballs
And oranges as sweet as your grandmother’s final tears
Rolling out of the trees
Swimming into the mouth of the Delta
Washed down with the precious nectar of
The California Aqueduct.
Years from now your granddaughter will
Feel that enchanted sense of deja vu
And you will try to explain to her
(Through the whispers in the grass)
That she is living the vision of the dream you had
The last night on that ship
When you had
Nothing in your stomach
Except a moldy crust of bread
And nothing in your heart
Except the tiniest seeds
Of hope


“The Rainbow’s End” and other poetry by LeeAnne McIlroy Langton will appear in the Green Anthology, a collection of poetry & prose by writers from the U.S., U.K., and Europe — available from Silver Birch Press on March 15, 2013.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: LeeAnne McIlroy Langton is a Senior English Language Fellow for The U.S. Department of State and Georgetown University as well as a lecturer at California State University, Long Beach. A native Californian, she earned a BA in Linguistics from UCLA. and an MA in Linguistics from CSULB. In 2011, she was named “Most Valuable Professor” by the Honors Program at CSULB, where she also works as a faculty mentor for first-generation college students. She is the mother of two daughters.

Painting: “Girl with Four-Leaf Clover” by Winslow Homer


Today, on my desk, I found a beautiful Canadian dime (like the one on the right — only mine was dated 2009). It probably fell out of my wallet sometime during the past week and I didn’t notice it until I started to dust (a never-ending job in L.A. — the dustiest place I’ve ever seen!).

And if L.A. is the dustiest place I’ve ever seen, I’ll use some superlatives when describing the Canadian dime — the shiniest, silveriest, most gorgeous work-of-art coin I’ve ever seen. On Wikipedia, I learned that the ship on the Canadian dime is called a Bluenose (“a fishing and racing schooner from Nova Scotia built in 1921…”). Wikipedia stated that the coin is “magnetic…[because] it has a high steel content.” (I couldn’t find a magnet to try it out.)

Kudos to coin designer Emanuel Hahn for his beautiful creation (FYI, Queen Elizabeth II is on the other side — she looks good, too).

There was something magical about the Canadian dime and its beautiful sailing ship appearing on my desk — and the discovery made me think of one of my favorite Van Morrison tunes “Into the Mystic.” Here is the first stanza:

We were born before the wind

Also younger than the sun

Ere the bonnie boat was won 

As we sailed into the mystic

Hark, now hear the sailors cry

Smell the sea and feel the sky

Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic.


Listen to Van the Man sing “Into the Mystic” live here.


Some years ago, I read statistics about the percentage of income that people in various countries spend on cultural activities — music, tickets to plays, visits to museums, and the like — and the Irish came out on top (if I remember correctly, by a wide margin). I don’t think the U.S. was even in the top five (I will keep looking for this chart — can’t locate at the moment).

I think we could promote greater participation in cultural offerings among the U.S. populace by making these activities affordable. For example, the City of Chicago offers free museum passes through its library system (During a visit last summer, I took full advantage of this  — with my mother’s library card — thank you, Mr. Mayor!). Some theaters offer free tickets to people who will serve as ushers. Most major cities host a variety of free outdoor events during the summer. I am always on the lookout for affordable activities to spark my imagination and uplift my soul.

Like most people today, I don’t have the disposable income to pay the exorbitant prices for tickets to major concerts and theatrical events — but I really, really, really wanted to see War Horse when it hit Los Angeles. Fortunately, I was able to purchase a ticket for $20 (plus a $6 service fee) through Yes, the seat was in the upper, upper, upper balcony in the top, top, top row — but that was just fine with me. The show was wonderful — moving and inspiring and life-affirming. If the War Horse tour swings your way, find a way to see this amazing show.

I first read about War Horse in the New York Times when the show was running in NYC — and don’t recall ever reading such a rave review. When I learned that the play was based on a book by Michael Morpurgo, I read the book as soon as I could get a copy from the library. (Find it here.) What a book! The horse (Joey) is the narrator — something that, I guess, didn’t translate to the play or eventual movie. I was in awe of how the author (Morpurgo) was able to pull off a horse narrator and make me completely buy it.

Kudos to you, Mr. Morpurgo — for bringing to life this wonderful creation that has seen so many successful incarnations (book, play, movie). You are truly inspired. Thank you!