Saturday, June 30, 2007

"Jaimerty Moses Al!"

Asymmetry for the Devil:

Wust God gein man tha will til choose

Free weel yis Gods weel, he maun approve

God alane yis munificent, 'at's guid news!

The Deil is nae benevolent

The Deil's obleegement 's boot ay ruse

evil, hairmful an malevolent.

Diobolus, His infernal Majesty

Loki, Lotan, Lord of Hades

Mortus, Mot, Mephistopheles'

these "Nick" names

fae the are etymologically

in practice tha same

Dae these articulate nobility?

Cal him whather ye may

but friend ye will rue a day

ye utter his rail name

a yin noo haud him at bay

weel be yer endgame

Sae thanket God, frae Dielment

an ect o haimless entertainment

tell the Diel ye hae naethin behint it!

an' whan aa is sae an' daen

Tis God ye choos'et, tha Deil loos'et!

there's naw nae ither wie roon.



I realize that this poem is pretty much a theological rant which I try to avoid and tend to abhor, but thats the way it was going and I decided to let it go that way for the sake of the direction it seemed to be taking on its own. I am having a very hard time thinking English, Writing Ulster-Scot, Rhyming aaabab and using 444242 meter at the same time

I can read the Hamley Toungue fairly well now, but can't write it fluently enough to feel proficient. Everything feels filled with grammatical errors, but having no-one who knows better to sound board for correctness the learning curve is steep.

Monday, June 25, 2007

"Geographing" The Glebe Home.

My son, "Devo" introduced me to the concept of Geocaching some time ago. For those of you who do not know what it is here is a definition from Wikipedia:

"Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and "treasure," usually toys or trinkets of little monetary value. Today, well over 410,000 geocaches are currently placed in 222 countries around the world, which are registered on various websites devoted to the sport."

This is my son "Devo"
In his Grandfathers Balmoral Hat.*

So, this "Sport" originated in the United States.

But in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales they do things slightly differently....

In typical British style they do what is called "Geographing".

Here is the Geograph websites explanation:

The Geograph British Isles project aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and you can be part of it.

What is Geographing?

  • It's a game - how many grid squares will you contribute?
  • It's a geography project for the people
  • It's a national photography project
  • It's a good excuse to get out more!
  • It's a free and open online community project for all

The aim of the Geograph website is to be a widely appealing web site that will gradually produce a freely accessible archive of educationally useful, geographically located photographs of the British Isles.

The Ordnance Survey grid has been chosen as the basis for the geographic referencing system.

To get an idea of the type of image we are interested in, think what a child sat looking at a map in a geography lesson might find useful when trying to make sense of what a the human and physical geographical features in a given grid square actually look like, or what would he see if he looked further a field from a given viewpoint.

Blah, Blah, Blah Blog....

Their website is:

"So why are you doing this to us obee?"

Well, I was searching for Postal Codes for the Killaloo area so I could send a letter to a possible surviving "Glenn" relative who may or may not still live on the land in Brackfield. I was told by a contact who's last name is "Pollock", who grew up in the Killaloo/Claudy area, that such a person or family, may still exist and yet be farming in Brackfield.

And then I found Geograph.

So now, I have actual pictures of Killaloo, Brackfield, and the surrounding environs.

And my Girl friend "Anonymous" responded with a "yeah, so..." But I have been wondering just what this place looked like for most of my adult life. ..And this is a BIG deal to me!

This is a map of modern day Killaloo.

...And now,
I would like to take you
on a Geograph Virtual tour:

1) Ougtagh Road.
On some maps the townland is spelled "Oughtagh".

2) Newcumber Presbyterian Church.
Located at Killaloo.

3) Killaloo Orange Hall.
Located at Killaloo.

4) Cumber Church of Ireland.
Derry & Raphoe is the Diocese which Cumber parish is in.

4 also) Killaloo Townland.

Looking towards Slieveboy** in the distance.

(That is rush in the foreground)

...and yes, this is where my new Blog Header came from...

5) Killaloo.
Lettermire Hill is in the background.

6) Looking towards Brackfield Townland.
In the direction of Lettermire Hill.

6 also) Ness Wood.
Some new plantings are protected by a fence.

7) Kilcatten Road.
Some maps use a spelling variation of Kiltcaltan.

8) Road at Toneduff.
Heading in the direction of Claudy.

9) Ness Garden Centre.
Located at Brackfield near Burntollet Bridge.

9 also) The Burntollet River.
The Burntollet river where it emerges from the Ness woods.
It flows into the river Faughan, about two kilometres
to the south west of here at Burntollet Bridge.

10) Lettermire Hill. (great wet hill-side.)
Looking eastwards across the slope of the hill.

11) Slieve Kirk.

Not pictured here, but indicated
on the map as a reference point.
(not to be confused with Slieveboy.)

12) Legaghory Townland.
Looking east to Killaloo.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
this concludes our tour for today.
Thank-you very much for coming!

Have a nice day....

Oh yeah, Most of these pictures were taken by: Kenneth Allen © Copyrighted and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. He is retired and has an accumulated points total of: 3661 Geograph Points. "...The things people do with their retirement time..."

9 also), "The Burntollet River" was taken by: Kay Atherton © Copyrighted and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. Kay is by Kenneth's standards a novice with an accumulated points total of a mere: 39 Geograph Points. I like her style though, maybe she doesn't have as many points as Kenneth but I'm rooting' for her! Hope she didn't get her feet wet when she took that beautiful picture.


*Obviously this blog has little or nothing to do with him or the hat, I just think its a neat portrait and I was itching for a reason to use it....

**"Slieveboy" is Southeast of Killaloo, it lies off of this map to the lower right hand corner, towards Claudy, not to be confused with "Slieve Kirk in the lower left hand corner of the map indicated by the # 11)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fathers Day 17/june/07

...if Dad looks a little "Blown Away!" here, it is because he was having his picture taken, just after someone stepped out of the frame, and just before someone stepped into the frame for their picture.

I like this photo because it looks like he was beamed in there by aliens from the "Starship Tour-bus".

James Gilmour O'Brien
At the Border of England and Scotland
Age 57

Although my Dad was a big influence on me with respect to how a man can be tactile, caring, loving, and still be masculine, righteous and honorable, my Mom was the one was the artistic bent.

Dad was a veracious reader but I don't think he ever wrote anything. He often professed to "not understand my poetry". (At the time I was going through my ee cummings, mixed with Tristan Tzara, blended with a little Francis Picabia thrown in for good measure "phase".) I think the Grammarian in him just couldn't handle the way I mangled and played with words.

Mom had a palette knife in my hand and oil paint all over me when I was "a wain". She was always there at every one of my openings, and I still kid her that the "frustrated Artist" in her lives vicariously through me.

Mom has been in and out of the Hospital allot recently.

This Northern Ireland Landscape Photograph
was Hand Painted
by my Mom: Doris E.T. Burns O'Brien.

Mom and Dad made a good pairing from the beginning. They we
re both born in 1925. They met when they were in the third grade. The story goes that Mom sent Dad her first love letter in third grade.

This is my mom in the 1930s
...about the age she began sending love letters...
(I wonder why my Dad wasn't scared off by that hat?)

Mom and Dad were into the Ancestral search thing, when I was younger and I didn't seem to care. They went to England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales when Dad retired.

The following is a poem that shows how I feel about my Ancestors now:

Me Ma & Da,

They were never privy to things

that I have come to know

Burns, Gilmour, Pollock & O'Brien

Poets and Priests on every side

was there ever a need to choose

to become what I have come to be

the past is comforting

it billets my future

and beckons me come....

obeedude 17/June/07

This is my Mom in Kerry, Ireland,
Sept of 1982 age 57.

"The Pot O' Gold at the Beginning & End of Dad's Rainbow!"

I got the best of both worlds from both of them.

Happy Fathers Day!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Comprehending Incomprehensible:

"Obeedude was totally incomprehensible and if you missed it you will have to have him explain it to you. Something about making up the language. Check out his blog today, he does have a wonderful growler thing-y on it. Which reminds me, Alan's new broadside has Mark's growler poem on it."

O.K., to answer Barb's Barb, This is whats-up:

If you scroll down to the bottom of this blog you will notice that I have been reading quite allot over the past year. Not included in these lists are the Genealogy Books, Text Books and other Apocrypha necessary for me to research and complete the Novel I have been writing based upon my the lives of my ancestors tentatively entitled ©"A Wasterly Gail."

As some have noticed my blog has gone for long periods without postings. This is because I was Reading and Absorbing. Then, for some time I was Reading and Avoiding. So, I spruced up the prologue and first four chapters, and, was about to hand them off to a former school teacher friend of mine, who was going to "give them the once over" with her infamous "Red Pen".

Then, one of my "Church Lady" friends put me onto the Ulster-Scots-Agency Website. To which I have a link listed here on my blog titled Ulster Scots Poetry. There you can listen to living and writing Ulster Poets reading their poetry in dialect.

Subsequently, I came to realize that I had written those chapters in a dialect that my ancestors would never have spoken. I find it hard enough to put words in my ancestors mouths to begin with, but to realize that I was putting the wrong words in their mouths was enough to make me conclude that I had even more reading to do!

So, I have endeavored to correct this problem by attempting to teach myself the Ulster-Scot Language more commonly known in Northern Ireland as "The Hamley Tongue" after James Fentons seminal work of the same name.

To that end I have been reading Poets of the the Ulster Province Namely the ones sighted and a series of Illustrated Children's books written by Philip Robinson based on Ulster-Scot Myths entitled:
  • "Esther Quaen o tha Ulidian Pechts" by Philip Robinson
  • "Fergus an tha Stane o Destinie" by Philip Robinson

(interesting note here: Phillip Robinson with two "l"s is the real life name of my nephew.... yet another instance of God saying "HELLO MARK!" or what? I think so anyway.)

The best resource I have found and the one that I am currently enjoying the most is: "Rhyming Weavers & other poets of Antrim and Down. edited by the poet John Hewitt, with forward by Tom Paulin" which I was able to purchase online from

I have as yet been unable to obtain either
"Ulster-Scots: A Grammer of the Traditional Written and Spoken Language." by Philip Robinson OR: James Fenton's The Hamely Tongue. My only access to them has been through website and the YouTube links I have added here.

Comprehending Incomprehensible:

Having set myself to the task of essentially learning a new language at the age of 49, I decided last week to try to compose a poem in "The Hamley Tongue", and then translate it into the language that I speak, and at the age of 49 I am still trying to learn: "North American English".

It is my intent to return to this verse in a years time and try to determine just how successful or unsuccessful I was at this attempt.

By way of introduction to this task I supplied my fellow poets at "EOTNP" with a xerox copy from "The Rhyming Weavers" of an excerpt from the chapter entitled "A NOTE on reading THE BARDS' VERSES" which I found interesting and I also include here:

"As Tom Scot, that fine poet, writes in his trenchant introduction to The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse (1970): 'We today live in a world in which spelling, and that obsessive neurosis, imposed on us by teachers at school, was originally imposed on teachers, and on all society, by ignorant printers who couldn't spell. They had to have everything reduced to an easy standard that they could learn'."

Haven beeen a pwinter fer miur theen fifftween yiers I feel I shood objeckt!

Or, perhaps simply use this as an excuse to go write any old way I feel like without regard for the obsessive neurosis called spelling.

But as much fun as that might be, I am serious about learning "The Hamley Tongue", and doing my ancestors justice.

As anti-climactic as this then may is the verse in question:


aye tha benmaist speirins…

oot o thon bagan

thenicht frea tha tajersome

treadmill o assault

is biggit themorras

lathder o succuss

ach! aiblins naw….



always the innermost questions…

out of that begun

tonight from the tiresome

treadmill of assault

is built tomorrows

ladder of success

oh well, perhaps not…

obeedude 14/june/07

So please! If you have made it thus far in this rant, Comment and let me know what you think.

Then, next year, perhaps revisit it with me, and Comment some more.


Friday, June 15, 2007

O'Brien meets O'Sullivan

(The Hand of Man and the Hand of God?)
Poet Dennis Sullivan passes the Growler to Poet O'Brien.
O'Brien to the left, O'Sullivan at the right as usual...

Big night last night! Alan Casline of Benevolent Bird Press Published a broadside of my poem "Passing the Growler:" The poem is a rumination on a life lived. It was spurred by a few lines from a Patrick Kavanagh poem. The Growler in question was handed down to me by my Father. Modern day Growlers are half gallon bottles used to transport beer home from a brewery. In my Great Great Grandfathers day they were made of tin as in the photo above. The name may have come from the sound the beer made when escaping from the tin on the way back from the Pub. My father used to tell me of my Grandmother's Father (as a child) being sent around to the rear door of the Pub with the tin to be filled with draft beer, which was then brought home to be consumed. The phrase "Fetch tha Growler" meant it was time to go to the Pub for a refill. And, you had better be careful on the way back, because the lore in our household held that the name "Growler" came from the altitude adopted by the 'Ol Man if you spilled too much on the way back home!

A Wood cut by Alan Casline:
Artist, Publisher,and Poet Extraordinare
inspired by the Poem.

Oh, Yeah The Poem!

"Through the mist-chill fields I went

With a pitch-fork on my shoulder

Less for use than for devilment."

*Patrick Kavanagh

Passing the Growler:

Less for use

than for devil meant,

inescapable, preordained,

predestined, predetermined…

With a shoulder at the pitch

erect, yet teetering, I giggle,

I swoop, I sway, I lurch,

my timber put up.

Through the mist,

Through the chill,

to the fields,

into the box,

into the hole,


only by a feeling,

I lumber, then shuffle,

I shamble, and sometimes think to clod,

My timber, perhaps, put down.

I had the dream today,

the box, the box, the box,

inescapable, predestined,

a doorway into darkness,

the portal through the mist

Yet, I would enter with a smile,

a life lived, some things left,

for others to make done,

content with that which

I have started and

that which I leave finished…

my timber pitched, a light to find my way,

smirking, I chuckle as I go,

with a desert fork on my shoulder

less for use than for devilment.

obeedude 01/apr/07

O'Brien isn't Growling any more,
" 'e's goot 'is Guinness!"