The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

the unreported storm

"Did you see the storm?" I asked the businesswoman.
"Did I what! It was unbelievable."
"Where were you watching it?"
"I was down on Fota island in Cork."
"Whaaaaat! I thought it just covered a few hundred miles in the Midlands."
"No James. It was tearing up the countryside way down south in Cork. There was even a house burnt down."
"Did it make any noise?"
"Of course it made noise. It was crashing about all over the place. The thunder woke me."
"Here it didn't make any noise. I watched it from the field for an hour at 3am. Not a sound until a few rumbles at four. Another hour with no sound. Then very loud thunder and a downpour at 5am for half an hour."
"You're joking James."
"No joke."
"That's amazing."
"Isn't it just."
"One of my friends in Cobh was watching it over the sea. She said the forked lightning playing over the waters was unbelievable."
"Do you think it means something?"
"No James. I know full well what you mean by that question. I think we've had warm weather. The warmth and humidity caused the storm. That's all there is to it."
"You know what happened the day that storm came."
"I know what you're saying. But it was just nature."
"An unprecedented storm. Not just across the Midlands as I originally thought from what I could see. But all over Ireland. And totally silent as it engulfed the Midlands. And unreported in our media. And it happens the day a portion of our electorate decided to legalise the murder of unborn children. You don't think that means something."
"It was just nature James."
"No. It wasn't."

Monday, May 28, 2018

sonorities of silence

Well folks, at last we've found a freak weather event that RTE, Independent Newspapers and the Irish Times aren't trying to label climate change.
They're not even reporting it.
A two and a half hour electrical storm across the Republic of Ireland that except for a few moments in the middle and for twenty minutes during the downpour of rain at the end, made absolutely no sound.
And they don't think it's worthy of mention.
They're ignoring it because it happened in the small hours of the morning after the vote to legalise abortion.
This evening I walked with Rachel in the fields.
"How could it have made no sound?" I asked her.
"Oh, sound comes when the lightning strikes the ground, the vibration of molecules..."
"God is speaking to us and you people are hiding behind molecules."
"I've seen amazing storms before myself."
"But you didn't see this one."
"Because you didn't wake up because it made no sound."

Sunday, May 27, 2018


Strolling in the graveyard.
Bucolic sunshine.
Not a trace of last night's storm.
It was over by about half five this morning, the last minutes replete with a dramatic crashing of thunder and a sudden downpour of rain.
The storm had continued for at least two hours of eerie silence, strange spectacular noiseless luminescences, sheet lightning, fork lightning, lightning over head, lightning low to the horizon, all in the most surealistic stillness. But the storm found its voice right at the end.
Now it's a new day and I'm in the graveyard.
The fields stretch away, golden with warmth, heavily scented with the aromas of burgeoning white thorn trees.
A lady calls me over to a bench where she's sitting.
She recognises my face from various family members but I do not know her. She says she woke up last night at 3am and sat on the edge of her bed during the storm.
I ask her how she woke.
She says she thought the dog must have woken her.
"Did you hear the storm?" I wonder.
"My kids say there must have been thunder," she says, "but I didn't hear it. There was no sound. Maybe a few rumbles."
"I watched it for an hour outside from 3am," I tell her, "and there were no rumbles until about 4am. The thing was going off all around me. There was absolute silence. Then at 5am there was heavy thunder and a sudden downpour for another half an hour. Do you think it means something?"
"Well Ireland has just legalised abortion," she answers.
Later this evening I rang Farmer Jones and asked him about the storm.
He had woken to use the toilet, knew there was a storm but hadn't watched it.
I asked him why there was no sound.
"If the storm was over Wexford you wouldn't hear it James."
"I'm telling you this thing was going off all around me."
"It might seem that way. You can see lightning from across the country."
"I think God was telling us something about the abortion vote."
"Okay. Okay. You can say that but storms happen all the time. Remember the storm of 1986 where all the farmers had to sell up. And there was a big storm in Spain and Italy only a few days ago."
"I think God is telling us we've done wrong and that it's not okay."
Still later as I brought the dogs along the river in the glorious May dusk, I ran into a local businessman.
He brought up the subject first.
"Did you ever see  anything like that storm last night? Wasn't it amazing?"
I told him I hadn't ever seen anything like it before and asked him what he thought was amazing about it.
"Well for most of the time it was silent," he answered. "And it was amazing to see the lightning going off all over the place. I was counting down waiting for the sound of thunder."
"Yes, yes, I did that too. I thought if you counted down from the lightning flashes to the sound of thunder you can work out the distance of the storm from your position."
"James maybe it was too far away."
"Billy I was standing out  in the field. The thing was all along the line of the Wicklow mountains, and in a curve past the east and south of Kilcullen. At times the flashes were nearly overhead. Closer than Urquahart's Woods."
"Actually I thought of one of our townsmen who died this week. I thought maybe he's having a party up there."
"Did you think it might have anything to do with the abortion vote?"
"Ah James, I respect you saying that. But..."
"I think God has been shouting at us for so long Billy. Last night he spoke softly and in a beautiful way. He's telling the Irish that they have done a great wrong and it will not stand."


At 3am in the morning I departed a neighbour's house.
Fields, and fens and midnight air.
Orange street lamps over the lullay little town.
I drew a deep breath.
The night was hushed and warm.
A yellow moon to the west.
Some clouds, some stars.
I intended to pray the third mystery of light, part of the rosary meditation beloved of Catholics, as I walked.
This mystery is announced as The Proclamation Of The Kingdom Of God.
I was turning for home when a flickering of light drew my eyes back to the ancient fields.
Luminescence flared behind the clouds and in open space.
My jaw dropped.
An unusually spectacular lightning storm was underway.
We don't get many of these in the midlands.
I'd say I've seen about ten lightning flashes in the last half century.
Tonight's storm was unlike anything I have ever seen.
Flashes of superb brightness seeming to coalesce without any direction.
Lightning bolts manifesting in streams rolling and leaping between clouds.
Irridescent flarings high up that had no perceivable form.
Yet more luminescences low to the horizon.
Never quite touching the ground.
Moments of stillness and darkness so that you thought it was over, then more light, more flashes, more flarings than before.
Spread out over hundreds of miles of countryside.
On and on and on.
Simultaneously illumining the line of the Wicklow Mountains to the east of Kilcullen while glittering in an arc of electrical detonations through the vault of sky and on towards the west.
It was extraordinary.
Eerily it made no sound.
There was near perfect silence for the entire first hour except for the occasional sighing of a night wind.
As dawn came up around 5am in the second hour of the storm, the flashes of lightning seemed to be directly overhead and now there was thunder.
The thunder is rolling outside as I write these words.

Less than 24 hours earlier those citizens of Ireland who endorse the barbarism of abortion as a normative behaviour, had prevailed in a referendum to legalise the murder of unborn children.