I suppose John Donne wrote ‘No man is an island’ because, at least at some stage, that’s what he felt like. It became such a famous poem and even a saying because there are so many people who can identify with it. Have you ever felt like an island, entire of yourself, and not part of a continent?
Life is such a strange thing. On one hand: at the end of the day, it’s always just you. On the other hand: we only exist in community. And we swing back and forth between these two extremes. Love is like that. Family is like that. Friends are like that.
Pádraig had a good day today. We started to try out lunch. Ok, it was vegetables and a bit of chicken, pureed, though not like mash, with small bits and pieces. I was worried because when we had tried that before, some weeks ago, it didn’t really worked. Today, Pádraig almost finished the content of a small jar. It was really, really good. He was eating it well, ‘chewing’ it a bit, and swallowing really well. We went out onto the roof terrace. Twelve steps. In each direction. Up and down. Today, with a bit of day light, as the sun was disappearing on the horizon. You can see the horizon from the 5th floor. You can hear the train in the distance. A dog barking somewhere down below, amongst the trees.
Not that I knew, but this must be like what prison feels. Twelve steps up. Twelve steps down. For about 30 minutes. Listening to sounds somewhere in the distance that, for whatever reason, you can’t get closer to you. When was the last time that he was close to a dog, a train, a child, …?
No man is an island.
I hope you were listening to Céili House on RTÉ Radio 1 last night, with Kieran Hanrahan! It was listeners’ choice last night and Kieran played ‘Dreamboat’ from ‘Amhrán do Pádraig’, reminding his listeners that ‘Schaler’ had been on the programme some years ago. (They actually found that programme in the archives and are sending it over to us! – Thank you so much!)
We have been listening to Céili House for years on Saturday nights in a small cottage in Leitrim, in what Pádraig called ‘the middle of nowhere’. It’s the kind of programme that really and absolutely completely relaxes you, makes you feel at home straight away, and requires an open fireplace, with wood and turf glowing and slowly burning away.
No man is an island.
In case you missed it last night, here is the link to the full programme. And here is the link, if you just wanted to listen to Kieran’s lovely introduction at the beginning, the song itself, and then Kieran’s really nice remarks after he had played the song.
In the end, we’re all involved in mankind. We are in this together. Which is what gives us the strength to get through the difficult times. Which is what gives us this immense happiness in good times. Whatever happens, and no matter to whom it happens, it always happens to us. That is why we care. No playing politics. No return on investment. No profits. No country for profit. No giant tax free zone for multinationals. No tax cuts to buy votes. No man is an island.
We care. Because we never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for me, for you, for your brother and for your sister, for your mother and for your father, for your partner and for your friend. Dreamboaters. Together. For each other.