• theniamhcooper

International Poetry Day

On International Poetry Day, I want to share a poem with you that I wrote one Friday evening not so long ago - and pretty much in one go.

One lockdown weekend, a line got stuck in my head:

They must drink in
The last few blinks
Of the twinkling shore...

I wrote it down. I could see this picture of a mother and a daughter, leaving Ireland, many years ago, in search of a better life, in my mind's eye. And so I started writing.

I had the title, when I was only a few lines into it. I named it: 'The Promised Land'.

I have always loved Riverdance and hadn't listened to it in probably ten years. And suddenly this song from Riverdance came into my head. It wasn't the title tune but another, melancholic air which wouldn't let me go. I had to play the song.

I then just had to listen to the whole album, on repeat... and the rest of 'The Promised Land' just sort of wrote itself.

A few behind the scenes facts:

  • I took the accompanying video while on a Whale Watching trip in Baltimore in west Cork a few years ago. We didn't see any whales that day, but we saw plenty of dolphins. Aren't they just gorgeous? I could watch them all day, and I think they are the perfect backdrop to 'The Promised Land'.

  • This is the song that triggered the rest of the poem: Coinneadh Cu Chuliann

  • 'The Promised Land' was broadcast on live radio in February 2021. Broadcaster Treasa Goodwin-Smyth, host of the New York City-based show 'Ireland Calls' kindly interviewed me about our charity book, 'Lights on the Horizon'. She also asked about other things I was working on, so I told her I'd taken up writing poetry again, after a long hiatus. I was absolutely delighted when she asked for a recording of the poem.

  • I wanted to use a very Celtic-sounding track, and I found the perfect track, which I purchased for broadcasting, after some searching on 'Audiojungle'. The track is by Allen Grey Music. Emer Sands at Avenue 33 studios in Dublin set to music for me.

I hope you like it. Feel free to leave comments and share.

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