Seamus Heaney…..Brochtober-Fest…..Coca-Cola…..

by Bernie Bell - 07:40 on 08 October 2022

Seamus Heaney…..

I’ve started reading ‘Seamus Heaney – New Selected Poems 1988 – 2013’.    What a man, what a poet, what a spirit.

Here’s one, for starters….

“The Butts

His suits hung in the wardrobe, broad

And short

And slightly bandy-sleeved,


Flattened back

Against themselves,

A bit stand-offish.


Stale smoke and oxter-sweat

Came at you in a stirred-up brew

When you reached in,


A whole rake of thornproof and blue serge

Swung heavily

Like waterweed disturbed.  I sniffed


Tonic unfreshness,

Then delved past flap and lining

For the forbidden handfuls.


But a kind of empty-handedness

Transpired…..Out of suit-cloth

Pressed against my face,


Out of those layered stuffs

That surged and gave,

Out of the cold smooth pocket-lining


Nothing but chaff cocoons,

A paperiness not known again

Until the last day came


And we must learn to reach well in beneath

Each meagre arm-pit

To lift and sponge him,


One on either side,

Feeling his lightness,

Having to dab and work


Closer than anybody liked

But having, for all that,

To keep working.”

By Seamus Heaney


My family are Irish.   Seamus Heaney is Irish, and many of the images he uses and ways of life he describes are familiar to me.

I know - he's dead now - but, to me, he still....is.

I think that  "A paperiness not known again" refers to cigarette papers, but also, for me, it was my Dad's skin, as he died of lung cancer from smoking Woodbines from the age of 11 and his skin went to white paper, towards the end. 

It’s an odd thing – that smell of sweat and cigarette smoke is ‘Dad’ to me – years later, decades later, I knew someone who smelt just the same – and it threw me - it was hard to deal with.

I'd end this with "Rest in Peace, Dad", but he always reckoned he'd rather go to Hell than Heaven, as that's where all the lively folk go!  I don't agree with him - it's just an example of how he was.  Another thing he said was that we can't go up to Heaven any longer, as there's too much space hardware in the way.  An irreverent, and very funny man. He still helps me with my gardening. 



It looks like OAS and The Caithness Broch Project aren’t having a Broctober-Fest this year - well – can’t have everything!  So I thought I’d have one of my own.

I just typed ‘Broch’ into the ‘Search’ box on ‘The Orkney News’ website and got lots! …… https://theorkneynews.scot/?s=Broch

On the home front – last Saturday Mike was tidying around the pond and in the doorway of our mini-broch, found a frog sheltering!  Maybe it had found that place of shelter from the storm on Friday. We thought things might live in it – it looks like they are. 

The roof might need some attention in the Spring – but for now the Broch of Gorseness is standing sound, as Brochs do.


Do Things Go Better With Coca-Cola?

I received the following email from change.org……

18,318 have signed Georgia Elliott-Smith’s petition. Let’s get to 25,000!

Sign now with a click

I was a delegate at COP26 in Glasgow. Most days I felt despair - some days I cried. The infiltration of corporations into the conference was sickening - the collected CEOs of the world’s biggest polluters, brazenly lobbying politicians to protect their interests and inflate their profits, telling us how we could save the planet if we bought more of their stuff.

This year it’s even worse - the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has announced that Coca-Cola will be the corporate sponsor of the global climate conference, COP27, held in Egypt next month.

Plastic is suffocating our planet and, year after year, one company leads the pack of polluters - Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola spends millions of dollars greenwashing their brand, making us believe that they are solving the problem. But, behind the scenes, they have a long history of lobbying to delay and derail regulations that would prevent pollution, keeping us addicted to disposable plastic.

This must stop.

COP conferences are supposed to be gatherings of national leaders, engaged in urgent negotiations to prevent climate change, not a multi-million dollar jamboree for corporate polluters and their lobbyists.

The UNFCCC must stop receiving corporate sponsorship today - starting with ejecting Coca-Cola as sponsor of COP27.

Please sign this petition and share widely. Together we can tell national leaders that we don’t want polluters meddling with our climate policies.

Sign now with a click


Do you remember the oh-so-sweet song?... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VM2eLhvsSM

Or – today’s version……

They’d like the world to buy their drink

And get smothered in plastic

And we all know that’s what will happen

If action isn’t drastic


Think twice before you buy that bottle

Whether Coke or juice or water

Those bottles just aren’t being disposed of

At least, not  like they oughter


A bit of poetic licence there at the end…. but….well….


Here’s a - very seasonal - one I made earlier…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/11/10/stove-and-wind-people/


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