Strange Boat - Organ Donation Awareness



This section presents poems and writings which contributors to this web site have found comforting or inspirational in difficult times.

By My Shoulder

Death is but a transition,
the mystics say.
Suffering makes us strong
setting the spirit free,
the sages say.
Time heals all wounds
helping us grow
day by day.
But without you by my shoulder
guiding me,
all the time and wisdom
in the world
wouldn’t take the pain away.

Martina Goggin from her book of poetry and photographs: Under Connemara Skies  Towards Light, inspired by and dedicated to her son Éamonn.


 "I want to beg you, as much as I can, 
to be patient toward all this is unsolved
in your heart and to try to love the questions
themselves like locked rooms and like books 
that are written in a very foreign tongue.
Do not seek the answers, which cannot 
be given to you because you would not be able 
to live them.
And the point is to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps you will then gradually, 
without noticing it, live along
some distant day into the answer"
Rainer Maria Rilke (German poet/writer)

Losing Liam by Sue Brackell                          

"I wrote these poems following my son's suicide in 2003.  They helped me to connect with him and to grieve.  I hope they will also speak to others who have lost children, and to those who offer support through the work of this charity" - Sue Brackell


  Bards of Passion and of Mirth
Bards of Passion and of Mirth,
Ye have left your souls on earth!
Have ye souls in heaven too,
Doubled-lived in regions new?
Yes, and those of heaven commune
With the spheres of sun and moon;
With the noise of fountains wondrous,
And the parle of voices thund'rous;
With the whisper of heaven's trees
And one another, in soft ease
Seated on Elysian lawns
Browsed by none but Dian's fawns;
Underneath large blue-bells tented,
Where the daisies are rose-scented,
And the rose herself has got
Perfume which on earth is not;
Where the nightingale doth sing
Not a senseless, tranced thing,
But divine melodeous truth;
Philosophic numbers smooth;
Tales and golden histories
Of heaven and its mysteries.
  Thus ye live on high, and then
On the earth ye live again;
And the souls ye left behind you
Teach us, here, the way to find you,
Where your other souls are joying,
Never slumber'd, never cloying.
Here, your earth-born souls still speak
To mortals, of their little week;
Of their sorrows and delights;
Of their passions and their spites;
Of their glory and their shame;
What doth strengthen and what maim.
Thus ye teach us, every day,
Wisdom, though fled far away.
  Bards of Passion and of Mirth,
Ye have left your souls on earth!
Ye have souls in heaven too,
Double-lived in regions new!
John Keats   (1795 -1822)


Invictus,  William Ernest Henley (first published in 1875)
This is the poem Nelson Mandela refers to as his favourite poem which kept him going during his year's of imprisonment on Robben Island.
William Henley who wrote this poem which was the inspiration for R.L. Stevenson's Long John Silver, suffered from tubercular arthritis since childhood, had a leg amputated when he was 24 and had been in danger of losing his other leg but through all of these difficulties he remained optimistic and brave.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

A New Year Blessing

Beannacht   (for Josie)

On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.
John O'Donohue from his book of blessings "Benedictus" and "Echoes of Memory"

“We hold invisible hands with those
who have gone down in history
We cannot let go
They are holding us”

The Sky's Window

An except from:
The Sky’s Window, Martin Wroe


The Sky’s Window is a new collection of readings from the London-based writer/poet Martin Wroe. Finding the mysterious in the mundane, the sacramental in the seemingly ordinary, these 'lines and lyrics in search of a numinous now' offer a fresh perspective on life - from first beginnings to final endings”.

Sorrow, by Claribel Alegria

Sorrow, Claribel Alegria, Curbstone Press, Canada

In sorrow, Claribel Alegria plumbs the depths of grief and wrests hope from pain and memory in lyrics written as love letters to her deceased husband”.

Tugs in the Fog

Tugs in the Fog, Joan Margarit, Bloodaxe Books Ltd. UK

Margarit’s poetry confronts the worst that life can throw at us, yet what lingers in the mind is its warmth and humanity. In these poems he reminds us that it is not death we have to understand but life”.

Morning Birds

It’s hard to put my thoughts to words
For words could not portray
The admiration and gratitude I hold
For You and Yours today
Your act of pure selflessness
Has erased from my mind
The constant fear of searching
Only to never find.

A gift of life stands well apart
From any we may receive
But giving life has unimaginable rewards
When given in your grief.

My second chance, I pray will be
A journey, fair and true.
For your gift enables me to do
So much I thought I’d never do
And also now, direction lives
Within my heart and mind
To be half, in life, the person you were
Leaving this world behind.

You’ve given me your Morning Birds
They’ll sing only for you
And when your moon at night appears
It’s then I’ll talk to you
In summer when I stroll the shore
With my love by my side
A stone I’ll throw, to the ocean waves
And think of you with pride.

Thank you, so very much.

Andy Dunne (singer/songwriter), Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 200l, following a kidney transplant operation.

To My Next of Kin

Please do not waste my body in the ground
while others die for what I'd freely give
nor feed me to the fire without a sound
Use my spare parts that other hearts may live

Enfold the burned within my healing skin
Rebuild the lame with bone. Make sinews strong
If I must die, let their new lives begin
Give quality of life for which they long

Take both my eyes. A son may see the stars
and let a mother look upon her child
We have known love. A summer life was ours
when barefoot through the meadows we ran wild

My life was sweet. How fast the hours went
Do this for me and I shall rest content.

Sue Cansdale from her book of poetry, Hope Sparkles. "To My next of Kin" was written by Sue about her daughter, Zoe, who became a donor following her death in a motorbike accident. /

A Gift of Life

A time to laugh, a time to cry
A time to meet, a time for goodbye,
A time for joy, a time for sorrow
A gift of life, another tomorrow..

A memorable day, even one to forget,
When heaven’s gates opened, the angels he met,
A life cut short but yet fulfilled
Inspiring us all through the actions he willed.

A time for strength, a time for healing
Of body and mind, the emotions we’re feeling,
A time for courage, a time for compassion,
For love and support in unselfish fashion.

A time for a song, to sail the ocean,
With strangeboat crew, their undivided devotion,
A time for others, lending their hand,
Steering the ship, again to dry land.

A time for contemplation of life unfolding
Those precious moments all of which were golden,
The clock does not turn, but moves ahead,
To face each day with life’s delicate thread.

A time to share, a time to smile
To offer advice on a project worthwhile,
A gift of life is priceless and sweet
Given by angels who once walked our street.

Deirdre McSherry (musician) following the launch of Strange Boat (unpublished)

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