Tag Archives: irish

Phoebe, the tabby cat who lived in the shed, By pd Lyons – English/Irish/French



the tabby cat

who lived in the shed

the semi savage

yet ever grateful for the feed

is dead


and i am feeling so alone

and i am so sorry

sorry for the whole fucking world

i am


crying like a baby

no matter what

everything ends in tears

and the next time…?

the next time…?


je répondrai

je répondrai




an cat tabby
a bhí ina gcónaí sa chaillfidh
an Savage leath
ach bhí riamh buíoch as an bheatha

agus tá mé ag mothú mar sin féin
agus tá mé leithscéal sin
leithscéal as an domhan fucking ar fad
tá mé

ag caoineadh cosúil le leanbh
is cuma cén
Críochnaíonn gach rud i Tears
agus an chéad uair eile ...?
an chéad uair eile ...?

je répondrai
 je répondrai



Le chat tigré

qui vivait dans le hangar 
le sauvage demi encore 
jamais reconnaissants pour l'alimentation 
est mort

et je me sens si seul et 
je suis tellement désolé 
désolé pour tout le monde 
putain je pleure comme un bébé
peu importe ce que tout 
se termine dans les larmes

Et la prochaine fois ...
la prochaine fois

je répondrai

je répondrai



The Yearning / El Anhelo , a snippet by pd lyons

pd lyons photography

so back in bed with the morning coffee. needed to make some poetical notes, rummage for a piece of paper . found a hardly used note book from 2012 in the dresser drawer as one does. anyway scribbled what i needed to and then found this little bit of a poem. thought; should blog it. later in the kitchen doing some clean up popped on a CD hadn’t played in years Carrie Rodriguez, the last song on the cd done in Spanish. “La Punalada Trapere”. Had no idea what it meant but thought it might be cool with the poem. in looking for a you tube to post here, found one with her doing the song live on a radio show, she tells the interview where it comes from, her great aunt Eva Graza.

so here is the poem, which i would title “The Yearning / El Anhelo “, which is not about the song and the two versions of the song which is not about the poem but somehow of course they go together with my morning coffee, my kitchen chores and my long illustrious life. from here in Ireland. adiosa. mind how you go & watch your back.


all night


nothing but moon light and stars

where is the one who loves me

where is the the one I love



all night


nothing but moonlight and stars

only the night

only the night

only the night

hears me whisper

over and over

his name





Happy Anniversary 18 years! (part 2) bravest of the brave,

love of my life




DSC_2433 DSC_2416 DSC_2415





“Fisherman’s Blues”

I wish I was a fisherman
Tumblin’ on the seas
Far away from dry land
And its bitter memories
Casting out my sweet line
With abandonment and love
No ceiling bearin’ down on me
Save the starry sky above
With light in my head
You in my arms
Woo!I wish I was the brakeman
On a hurtlin’ fevered train
Crashing a-headlong into the heartland
Like a cannon in the rain
With the beating of the sleepers
And the burnin’ of the coal
Counting the towns flashing by
In a night that’s full of soul
With light in my head
You in my arms
Woo!Tomorrow I will be loosened
From bonds that hold me fast
That the chains all hung around me
Will fall away at last
And on that fine and fateful day
I will take thee in my hands
I will ride on the train
I will be the fisherman
With light in my head
You in my armsLight in my head
You in my armshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VKouBHarIo



Some years later, Mrs. Ansonia Feathers made the arduous journey to Hodgeman County to visit the last resting place of her only daughter. William Munny had long since disappeared with the children… some said to San Francisco where it was rumored he prospered in dry goods. And there was nothing on the marker to explain to Mrs. Feathers why her only daughter had married a known thief and murderer, a man of notoriously vicious and intemperate disposition.

and when they come for you?

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

(Wikiquote, see[3])


Martin Niemöller was a German pastor and theologian born in Lippstadt, Germany, in 1892. Niemöller was an anti-communist and supported Hitler‘s rise to power at first. But when Hitler insisted on the supremacy of the state over religion, Niemöller became disillusioned. He became the leader of a group of German clergymen opposed to Hitler. In 1937 he was arrested and eventually confined in Sachsenhausen and Dachau. His crime was “not being enthusiastic enough about the Nazi movement”[citation needed]. Niemöller was released in 1945 by the Allies. He continued his career in Germany as a clergyman and as a leading voice of penance and reconciliation for the German people after World War II. His statement, sometimes presented as a poem, is well-known, frequently quoted, and is a popular model for describing the dangers of political apathy.

We received word that a company was hired by danskbank to move onto Paddy Floods home to remove farm machinery and scrap cars ect over the weekend. We have barricaded the front entrance and Paddys friends and neighbors kept watch at the gates overnight. This is an attack on rural Ireland, an attack on a very vulnerable 70 year old man by a foreign bank.
Paddy made every effort to pay off a very small loan ( not a mortgage ) but the bank refused his offers,Please head to hilltown, castlepollard co.westmeath
Call 0863826299 for directions.




April 24, 1916

The Provisional Government of the Irish Republic

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty: six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and its exaltation among the nations.





Maybe its time to stop harping around?



James Connolly


After Ireland is free, says the patriot who wont touch socialism, we will protect all classes, and if you won’t pay your rent, you will be evicted same as now. But the evicting party… will wear green uniforms and the harp without the Crown… Now isn’t that worth fighting for? –

( Dudley Edwards, Ruth, James Connolly, Gill & Macmillian, 1981, p.31.)




Henry VIII, Second harp issue as king of Ireland, 1541-1542.
Some rights reserved: Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. hppt://www.engcoins.com



Maybe its time to stop harping around?

Just because we take away the term “King” doesn’t mean we’ve solved the problem of oppression.





 Not ancient history, just history repeating itself:


Luke Byrne – 07 March 2013

A terminally ill woman, who was subjected to a failed eviction attempt, will leave her home if emergency accommodation can be secured……


Just saying!



Irish Winter part 3 of 3 Hitler Heaven


true power - when dark and light unite

true power – when dark and light unite



Today a bit of sun. Enough for the house plants to take note and be watered. A load of laundry to be hung, after repositioning the tipping over clothes tree. Put on another load of laundry, meditation by the window incense and Buddha nature as far as far as far can be…

Now fire stared table cleaned I sit here typing again. \Work some poems? At least continue edit for Bassa Nuvo. Maybe work on s’little russia, its needing major over haul for the Basso collection.


My mother went to Italy before she died. After she died I don’t know where she went. Despite her Roman Catholic insistence, dragging us off to church, vigil candles before the infant on her bureau, even my fathers contribution on the Irish side… I did not believe in heaven or hell or very much in that god of the bible – a little to human in his despotic approach to governing. I’d a probably signed up for the republic n joined the Lucifarians. But when my mother died I remember praying, crying, hoping at the risk of my own self like “god if you’d take my mother to heaven I’d gladly go to your hell”. Like please let her find what she believed in. Let it be the way she thought it would be. I don’t care about me but let heaven be heaven for her. You know a variation of take me instead. I’ll hope heavens real even though if it is then hell’d be real too and well I wont be surprised if I’d end up there. But what about my mother would heaven be a place without her child? Maybe. But I think she had some of that old time stuff you know you get to meet your loved ones again in heaven. I guess it could get complicated like you die and want to see your loved ones in heaven but what if since you left them they became evil? Or what if the ones you loved didn’t necessarily love you? What about that gorgeous one you had a crush on but couldn’t stand you? Is one persons heaven another persons hell? what about Hitler’s mother? Maybe she loved her son? Maybe she will love him forever and in her heaven he’d be with her? What would the neighbours think of that? Maybe each person gets their personal heaven and all the loved ones are kinda illusionary? Like the part of Hitler before he got evil would be the part that would be with his loved ones? But then wouldn’t heaven be based on a lie? Fuck it. All I know is I loved my mother and I wished and continue to wish that she was not too surprised by what happened after she was released from her cancerous body full of suffering. All I know is I’d gladly go through hell if it would help the one who gave me birth be where she deserves to be.


May all beings be free of suffering wherever they may be whatever they may be – now.


its not my birthday any more. I’ll never be 52 in this lifetime again. so how different is it? I like 53 for some reason. I like the sound of it. 52 seems kinda white breadish but fifty three – a little like a sharpened steel. Fifty three, seems to prowl through the environment, seems to be a more sure footed creature, confident of each place it puts its feet, able to look things right in the eye. No regrets.


you cant go with your thoughts even if you try.

you only think you can.

the thoughts rise pass fall

each begins the cycle anew. you think you can go with them making plans worrying defining good n bad self n other but really

no matter how profound or elaborate no matter how many seemingly stung together, the weave no matter how intricate precise is only woven out of smoke.

your true nature cannot go with thoughts even if you try.





Irish Winter part2 : pants (intimate)

There is no fire and its cold. I ,usually so phobic of the cold ,today don’t mind. Welcome cold let me feel the small pain of knowing I’m still alive. happy to be so. of course I’m wearing my fingerless yak hair gloves from Darcy’s, Michelle’s over sized brown jumper form Jones – over a denim shirt over a maroon tea shirt; a pair of Levis brought back from last years trip to the states, blue wool walking socks, n a pair of regatta waterproofs. And why is it a pair of pants? Is each leg a pant and therefore you have a pair? shouldn’t it just be a pant? It must be that each leg is a pant, therefore I’ll put on my pants. maybe originally they came separate? Un-joined like long socks? Pair of socks makes sense. Two make a pair. I put on one my sock then the other and if they match it’s a pair. If they don’t is it ,or are they, still a pair? Can you have a pair of unmatched socks? Maybe if they’re not on you they’re not a pair but once you put them on they are even if the don’t match? I’m wearing a pair of un -matching socks? or is it unmatched. I’m wearing a half a pair of socks on each foot? anyway why a pair of pants, I’m not wearing two pants I’m wearing one blue denim Levis pant.


Lapwing is editing a new collection of poems for publication. I had thought it might be ready this year which would have made it 8 years since they did Searches For Magic. Its been about 10 month now I think, more than a baby. Oh well horses take eleven months. In fairness I sent Dennis about 200 poems, basically the contents of caribou and sister stones that I self published via LuLu. Well I’m grateful for his interest. was hoping he’d print soon so I can attempt to do so public reading and have product to sell. The LuLu is mad expensive for shipping and blah blah blah.


I have been too intimate with my life for regrets. I was happy for that thought, it freed me from the erroneous belief that life must have regrets. I have had dreams that didn’t come true, things I felt so sure of that turned out to be not so, but how would I wish away any of my closest friend, my own life, my own self experience? If I were to have only one minute to relive before I die – would I waste time saying OK but not this one not that? I liked the little boy who lived for a while w/ no siblings, I liked the shy boy who got slapped around in school, I admired the courage that teenager had to drop acid to smoke dope to fall in love without any restraint to write a life time of poetry, I felt protective of the young man in jail, scared for the one who registered for the draft, and for the one who loved women, who loved the whole idea of women who loved the exploration of the most mysterious beautiful being called women and who mostly always ever seemed to create pain…

I have been too intimate with my life for regrets. It is a beautiful day, it is a good day to die, it is another day deserving gratitude to all who were my mothers and fathers, all my teachers, benevolent and wrathful formal and informal.

I am here in this beautiful land with my beautiful partner and our beautiful daughter and today I’m 53 years old. woo hoo!


there is a beauty even in the grey

there is a beauty even in the grey

women we should know/ beryl markham

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

women we should know


Originally published in Woman Pilot • January/February 2000

Against Prevailing Winds – The Remarkable Life of Beryl Markham


By Jackie Kruper

West with the Night, the autobiography that introduced me to the extraordinary woman, Beryl Markham, chronicles her Kenyan childhood and her historic, solo flight across the Atlantic from east to west. Her captivating memoir details exciting adventures and aviation exploits; it provides insights into her philosophies and general outlook on life. Beryl’s precise observational skills are concisely translated into ornate prose; yet there are no revelations of the “private” self. Was this intentional? Through additional reading and a journey to Kenya, I began my search to learn more about this enigmatic, complex, multi-faceted woman.
Beryl Clutterbuck was born in Leicestershire, England in 1902. By 1904, the British government was offering large tracts of land to lure settlement of the East African Protectorate. In 1906, Beryl’s father, Charles Clutterbuck, a retired British army captain, seized the opportunity to move his family to British East Africa (BEA, later Kenya) with hopes of developing a horse farm and a sawmill. This new, rugged life soon lost its appeal for Clara, his wife. She and Beryl’s older brother, Richard, returned to England in October 1906. Beryl’s mother did not see Beryl for 17 years. As an adult, Beryl would often say she was orphaned at the age of four.
Beryl’s childhood was anything but typical with the stoic, military-like influence of her father and the multi-cultural influences of her early, male playmates from the Luo, Nandi, Kikuyu, and Kipsigis tribes. She spoke Swahili and mixed, tribal dialects. Her unconventional upbringing permitted freedoms to which few females (black or white) could aspire in the white pioneering of Kenya. Attempts to educate Beryl resulted in a string of tutors and governesses; each resigned after brief attempts to tame the happy, active, blond child who explored and hunted almost naked with her black friends. One governess repeatedly beat her. Throughout her life, she remained aloof in the company of women.
She managed to remain at the Nairobi European School for two terms. When she left the Nairobi school, men again dominated her existence – her father, her servants, her playmates. Beryl worshipped her father; no other man could measure up to Charles Clutterbuck in her eyes. As a result of this significant relationship in her early years, Beryl grew to rely on men to guide her throughout her life.
Beryl learned to observe everything around her through hunting and tracking. She met animal kingdom enemies daily; with survival at the forefront, she became imbued with an unnerving sense of fate. She demonstrated physical prowess in any activity she pursued. Her Nandi friends taught her to jump higher than her height. She trained horses with her father; her skill and artfulness in handling horses was considered extraordinary.
Two events in her teen years served to heighten Beryl’s feelings of deprivation and abandonment. Lady Delamere, a neighbor and surrogate mother, died in 1913. And a prolonged drought from 1916 through 1917 caused severe financial reverses for her father’s farming and milling ventures. These reverses were exacerbated by the 1920 revaluation of the rupee. Charles Clutterbuck auctioned his properties and accepted a trainer position in Peru to perhaps escape the stigma of bankruptcy. For Beryl, 18 and newly married to Jock Purves, this was a significant personal loss; she, forevermore, perceived everything as disposable. Already skilled at screening grief, anger, love and joy, she was unable to express emotional loss.
After her father’s departure, she obtained a trainer’s license, the first ever granted to a woman in Kenya, and began working as a horse trainer in earnest. In her best season, 1963-64, she trained 46 winners. By the end of her illustrious equine career, she had trained six winners of the Kenya St. Leger and six winners of the East African Derby, Kenya’s most prestigious racing event.
Perhaps she was waging a private battle with her grief at Denys’ death or survivor’s guilt. Whatever the reason, she hired Campbell Black as her flight instructor, soloed within four weeks of Denys’ death (eight hours logged) in a DH Gypsy Moth identical to Denys’ and earned her A License on July 13, 1931. Her first log book’s initial entry is dated 11 June 1931; it runs through 10 October 1934. Beryl recounted that her first solo “. . .was an emotion one experiences only once in a lifetime mingled with a kind of independence . . . I have never been able to find in any other walk of life . . . I was one with the aeroplane.”
With Tom’s support and instruction, she pursued her commercial rating and flying career with intense dedication. They shared dreams of an aviation partnership as well as personal intimacy beginning in the fall of 1931. Tom accepted a position in England and departed Kenya in March 1932; Beryl did not portend this was the beginning of the end of their relationship.
One month later, Beryl bought a blue and silver Avro Avian IV (tail VP-KAN, 2-seater, 120 hp DH Gypsy II engine). With 127 logged hours, she flew from Nairobi to London’s Heathrow Airport in seven flying days. Considering the nature of navigational aids in 1932, Beryl demonstrated uncanny navigational instincts for this flight of over 6,000 miles. This aviation feat was possibly a maneuver to regain Tom’s attention.
She flew briefly in England then returned to Kenya to become Kenya’s first female commercial pilot (September 1933). Her B License II certified her to fly the Avro Avian, the DH Gypsy Moth and the DH Dragon (twin engine, 130 hp, eight-seater). Earning this certification required that she strip an engine, clean jets and fuel/oil filters, change plugs, adjust magneto points and pass written and oral exams on theory and practice of air law (flight regulations) and navigation.
Immediately upon receipt of her B License, she flew sightseeing tours along the coast at Mombasa. From Nairobi, she flew scouting runs and courier service for safari clients; scouting for game was typically a 10-day trek, and she developed a knack for tracking behemoth tuskers. She contracted to deliver mail and supplies to gold miners at the fields of Nungwe near Lake Victoria. Beryl also carried medical supplies and instituted a forerunner of today’s air ambulance services by transporting patients to hospitals or doctors to patients in the bush. In her three years of freelance piloting in Africa, she covered a quarter million miles over extremely dangerous terrain. In fact, she always carried a small revolver and a vial of morphine.
Beryl had been seeking an aviation challenge while she was building hours with her commercial ventures. Tom had married the actress Florence Desmond in 1935, and although this caused deep emotional pain for Beryl, she clung to hopes of setting aviation records with him. In February of 1936, with plans of persuading Tom to join her in the Cape Race (London-Johannesburg-London), she auctioned her Avian to finance the trip to England. She flew to London in a DH Leopard Moth accompanied by Bror Blixen. Mussolini, at war in North Africa, strictly forbade any female to fly alone over the war zone. This was her farewell to Africa until she was into her fifties. It marked the beginning of novel and divergent chapters in her life.
How and when did planes replace horses as Beryl’s passion? The door to aviation began to open when she met the aviator Denys Finch-Hatton in 1922 at Karen Blixen’s home (author, Out of Africa). Three years later, she met Tom Campbell Black on the roadside as he repaired his plane. He was an accomplished aviator, flight instructor and managing director of Wilson Airways in Nairobi. Beryl described Tom as “. . . the happy tinker who had revived it (the plane) and jostled on his way in a nebula of dust. He . . . tossed me a key to a door I never knew was there.” After their second meeting, she referred to his plane as “that irreverent contrivance of fabric and wires and noise, blustering through the chaste arena of night.”
Beryl married Mansfield Markham in 1927 and traveled to England in December 1928 to await the birth of their child. With the marriage foundering, Beryl, almost immediately after her son’s birth, resumed her relationship with Henry, Duke of Gloucester, in London. They had “shared a romp” in Kenya in the mid-1920s. As Beryl’s indiscretions grew blatant, a spurned Mansfield threatened to name Henry as corespondent in his divorce decree. To prevent the embarrassment of having her son named in Mansfield Markham’s divorce decree, Queen Mary had her legal representatives arrange a small annuity for life for Beryl from the royal coffers. This also freed Mansfield from financial obligation to Beryl. Beryl returned to Kenya.
Denys Finch-Hatton was also in England in 1929 to buy a DeHavilland Gypsy Moth and restore his active flight status. He returned to Kenya in the Moth. Denys and his flying undoubtedly intrigued Beryl. Throughout 1930-31, she often flew as a passenger with Finch-Hatton and began an intimate relationship with him. One account indicates Beryl was to fly with Denys on his fatal flight of May 14, 1931.
Sometime that same year, Beryl was dining with a group of friends that included J. C. Carberry, an accomplished pilot and a wealthy British expatriate living in Kenya and England. He casually dared Beryl to “hop the pond” – fly the Atlantic from east to west. He would finance her voyage and provide a specially built plane if she promised to return it in time for him to compete in the Cape Race. Success with an east-to-west, non-stop flight had been elusive; several pilots, male and female, had perished in the attempt. Jim Mollison flew from Ireland to New Brunswick in 1932 in a DH Puss Moth. Amelia Earhart (1928, New York to Ireland, 15 hours) and Charles Lindbergh (1927, New York to Paris, 27 hours) had flown west to east, the more favorable direction due to prevailing winds. She accepted on the spot; this was the challenge she sought.
With expectations of a late July, early August delivery of the plane, a Percival Vega Gull, she continued to hone her piloting skills as chief pilot for Air Cruisers, Ltd. routinely flying the company’s president in a DH Dragon between London and Paris. Technical difficulties delayed delivery of the plane, which resulted in minimal time for Beryl to transition to the new plane. In addition to flying, Beryl trained as vigorously for the flight as would an athlete for competition and spent hours studying maps with Campbell Black and Jim Mollison.
At 6:50 a.m. on September 4, 1936, she departed the military field at Abingdon, England in the Vega, VP-KCC, dubbed “The Messenger.” It was two-passenger, side-by-side, with a 200hp DH Gypsy Six engine and a cruising speed of 163 mph. It was equipped with a French Ratier variable-pitch prop. Fuel was carried in six tanks, two standard tanks in the wings, and, for long-range, two in the center section, and two in the cabin (255 total gallons, 3800 mile range). There was one gauge for the standard tanks; the extra tanks had no gauges. As each emptied, Beryl was required to switch it off with a petcock and open the next one in a special sequence that maintained the plane’s balance. The panel’s meager display included a Reid & Sigrist turn-and-slip indicator, a Sperry gyro and artificial horizon and an instrument called a `fore and aft reader’ which measured rate of climb. There was no radio.
The Messenger was airborne in 1,800 feet despite the extreme fuel weight. In addition to her food supply of five flasks of coffee, one flask of brandy, a cold chicken and some dried fruits and nuts, Beryl later wrote that, as she set her course in flight, she hummed aloud the mantra Tom had stressed in her early flight training, “Variation west, magnetic best. Variation east, magnetic least”.
She crash-landed on September 5, 1936 in a peat bog on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, 21 hours and 35 minutes after take-off. It was later discovered that one tank was three-quarters full; the crash was a result of carburetor ice. Enough fuel remained to have reached New York, the original destination.
Unscathed save for a gash on her forehead, Beryl greeted crowds of well wishers in Halifax and co-piloted a Beech Staggerwing to Long Island’s Floyd Bennett Field the next day. She was feted with a ticker-tape parade in New York City and honored by Mayor LaGuardia. She met with executives from Paramount Pictures and contracted to teach flying techniques. Days after her triumphant flight, she received word that Tom Campbell Black had been killed when an arriving plane sliced through the canopy of his Mew Gull as he waited to depart Speke, England. Beryl sailed to England.
In July 1937, Beryl arrived in Los Angeles where she worked at fulfilling her contract with Paramount. About this time, she also met Raoul Schumacher; he would become her third husband in 1942. They explored the American southwest, sailed to Melbourne and on to Cape Town. By 1939, they returned to California. Sometime in 1940-41, they announced that Beryl had written her memoir, West with the Night, which she dedicated to her father. Houghton Mifflin published the book in May 1942. Receiving critical acclaim, it made 13 best seller lists including the New York Times.
In the late 1940’s, Beryl returned to Kenya to regain her status as a reputable trainer. She never again piloted a plane.
Throughout her life, Beryl had total disregard for money and never concerned herself with managing finances. Despite an apparently glamorous life, she was always dependent on the kindness and largesse of her friends. Her instinct was to survive no matter the cost to others. In 1981, she was brutally beaten when her rent-free bungalow at Ngong Racecourse was burglarized. Most of her few possessions and memorabilia were stolen. Beryl’s last years were a threadbare existence.
Her father, the most significant man in her life, died in 1957. Her only child, Gervase Markham, died at the age of 42 in a car accident in Paris; Beryl did not attend the funeral. Gervase left two daughters, Fleur and Valery.
East African pilot G. D. Fleming believed that, with the exception of Jean Batten, Beryl was the finest woman pilot in the British Empire. “I never saw her the worse for wear – even after a ten-hour flight…her navigation was uncanny and she could find her way anywhere. I never saw her make a poor landing even in really filthy weather.”
When Beryl departed on her transatlantic flight, she quietly whispered twende tu (I am going). As a result of complications following hip surgery, she quietly departed this earth on August 4, 1986 in a Nairobi hospital; she was 83. Her cremated remains were scattered over the Ngong Racecourse. A memorial service was held on September 4, 1986 in London honoring Beryl’s life and commemorating the 50th anniversary of her epic flight.
When I visited Nairobi’s Wilson Airport in 1992, no one in the pilots’ lounge/FBO knew of Beryl. There were neither photos nor plaques to honor this daughter and pilot of Africa. Ngong Racecourse looked weary and timeworn with Beryl’s former bungalow nestled in the cool shade of a copse of large trees. There was a poignant sadness in what I failed to find.
Originally published in Woman Pilot • January/February 2000



 horses, out of africa, first to fly solo across the atlantic…. whats not to like


Morgan le Fay/ Women We should Know




Thursday, February 21, 2013

Morgan le Fay/ women we should know



excerpts from wiki site:

Morgan le Fay

Morgan le Fay by Anthony Frederick Sandys (1864)

Morgan le Fay /ˈmɔrɡən lə ˈf/, alternatively known as Morgan le Faye, Morgane, Morgaine, Morgana and other names, is a powerful sorceress in the Arthurian legend. Early works featuring Morgan do not elaborate her character beyond her role as a fay or magician. She became much more prominent in the later cyclical prose works such as the Lancelot-Grail and the Post-Vulgate Cycle, in which she becomes an antagonist to King Arthur and Queen Guinevere.
Morgan is said to be the daughter of Arthur’s mother, the Lady Igraine, and her first husband, Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, so that Arthur (son of Igraine and Uther Pendragon) is her half-brother. She has at least two elder sisters, Elaine and Morgause, the latter of whom is the mother of Gawain, Gaheris, Gareth, Agravain, by King Lot and usually the traitor Mordred, by Arthur. In Sir Thomas Malory‘s Le Morte d’Arthur and elsewhere, she is married, unhappily, to King Urien of Gore and Ywain is her son.
The early accounts of Geoffrey of Monmouth and Gerald of Wales refer to Morgan in conjunction with the Isle of Apples (later Avalon) to which the fatally wounded Arthur was carried. To the former, she was an enchantress, one of nine sisters; to the latter, she was the ruler and patroness of an area near Glastonbury and a close blood-relation of King Arthur. In the early romances of Chrétien de Troyes, she also figures as a healer. In later stories, Morgan becomes an adversary of the Round Table when Guinevere discovers her adultery with one of her husband’s knights, though she eventually reconciles with her brother and even retains her original role, serving as one of the four enchantresses who carry him to Avalon after his final Battle of Camlann.


As her epithet “le Fay” (from the French la fée, meaning fairy) indicates, the figure of Morgan appears to have been originally a supernatural being. Her main name could be connected to the myths of Morgens, or Morgans or Mari-Morgans, which are Welsh and Breton water spirits. While later works make her specifically human, she retains her magical powers.[1] Inspiration for her character likely came from earlier Welsh mythology and literature; she has been compared with the goddess Modron, a figure derived from the continental Dea Matrona and featured with some frequency in medieval Welsh literature. Modron appears in Welsh Triad 70, in which her children by Urien, Owain and Morfydd, are called the “Three Blessed Womb-Burdens of the Island of Britain,”[2] and a later folktale preserved in the manuscript known as Peniarth 147 records the story behind these conceptions more fully.[3] Urien is Morgan le Fay’s husband in the continental romances, while Owain mab Urien is the historical figure behind their son Ywain. Additionally, Modron is called “daughter of Avallach,” a Welsh ancestor deity whose name can also be interpreted as a noun meaning “a place of apples”.[4] In fact, in the story of Owain and Morfydd’s conception in Peniarth 147, Modron is called the “daughter of the king of Avallach.” This is similar to Avalon, the “Isle of Apples” with which Morgan le Fay has been associated since her earliest appearances. Additional speculation sometimes connects Morgan with the Irish goddess Morrígan, though there are few similarities between the two beyond the spelling of their names.

Because her name and sometimes her traits resemble those of many supernatural women in Welsh and Irish tradition, many assume that Morgan is a remnant of a pagan Celtic goddess or spirit. Morgan’s Celtic genealogy may include war goddesses (Irish Morrigan and Macha) as well as waterfolk (Irish Muirgen, Welsh Modron, and Breton Morganes)—though none of these figures can be positively identified as her ancestor. About 1216 Gerald of Wales wrote that in the “fabulosi Britones” [tales of the Britons] an imaginary goddess named Morganis transported Arthur to Avalon to heal him. This is one of our few documented links between the Celtic oral tradition and the figure that would emerge in romance as Morgan le Fay.[5]

Carl Lindahl, Medieval Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs

In medieval literature

Voyage of King Arthur and Morgan le Fay to the Isle of Avalon by Frank William Warwick Topham (1888)

Morgan first appears by name in Geoffrey of Monmouth‘s Vita Merlini, written about 1150. Purportedly an account of the wizard Merlin‘s later adventures, it elaborates some episodes from Geoffrey’s more famous earlier work, Historia Regum Britanniae. In Historia, Geoffrey explains that, after Arthur is seriously wounded at the Battle of Camlann, he is taken off to Avalon, the Isle of Apples, to be healed. In Vita Merlini, he describes this island in more detail and names “Morgen” as the chief of nine magical sisters who dwell there. Morgan retains this role as Arthur’s other-worldly healer in much later literature.
Before the cyclical Old French romances, appearances of Morgan are few. Chrétien de Troyes mentions her in his first romance Erec and Enide, completed around 1170; he says one guest at the titular characters’ wedding, a certain Guigomar, Lord of the Isle of Avalon, is a friend of Morgan. She is later mentioned in the same poem when Arthur provides a wounded Erec with a healing balm made by his sister Morgan; this episode both affirms her early role as a healer and provides the first mention of Morgan as Arthur’s sister. Chrétien again refers to Morgan as a great healer in his later romance Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, in an episode in which two ladies restore the maddened hero to his senses with a concoction provided by Morgan. However, while Modron is the mother of Owain in Welsh literature, and Morgan would be assigned this role in later French literature, this first continental association between Ywain and Morgan does not imply they are son and mother.
The Arthurian tale Geraint son of Erbin, based on de Troyes’s Erec and Enide, mentions King Arthur’s “chief physician”, Morgan Tud; it is believed that this character, though considered a male in Gereint, may be derived from Morgan le Fay (though this has been a matter of debate among Arthurian scholars since the 19th century. The epithet Tud may be a Welsh or Breton cognate or borrowing of Old Irish tuath, “north, left, sinister, wicked”, also “fairy, elf“).

Morgan Le Fay by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1880)

Morgan’s role is greatly expanded in the 13th-century Lancelot-Grail (Vulgate Cycle) and the subsequent works inspired by it. The youngest of Gorlois and Igraine‘s daughters, she is sent to a convent when Uther Pendragon kills her father and marries her mother. There she begins her study of magic, but is interrupted when Uther betroths her to his ally Urien. Unhappy with her husband, she takes a string of lovers until she is caught by a young Guinevere, who expels her from court in disgust. Morgan continues her magical studies under Merlin, all the while plotting against Guinevere. In subsequent chapters she uses her skills to foil Arthur’s knights, especially Lancelot, whom she alternately tries to seduce (including imprisoning him along with her fellow enchantress friends Queen Sedile and the Queen of Sorestan, each of whom wants to make him their lover[8]) and to expose as Guinevere’s adulterous lover. In the prose Tristan, she delivers to Arthur’s court a magic drinking horn from which no unfaithful lady can drink without spilling, hoping to reveal the infidelity.

Queen Morgana le Fey tossing the Excalibur‘s sheath to the Lady of the Lake, Howard Pyle‘s illustration from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)

Thomas Malory mostly follows the portrayal of Morgan in the Vulgate and Post-Vulgate Cycles in his book Le Morte d’Arthur, though he expands her role in some cases. Through magic and mortal means, she tries to arrange Arthur’s downfall, most famously when she arranges for her lover Accolon to obtain the sword Excalibur and use it against Arthur in single combat. Failing in this, Morgan throws Excalibur’s protective scabbard into a lake.
She turns up throughout the High and Late Middle Ages, generally in works related to the cycles of Arthur or Charlemagne. At the end of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, it is revealed that the entire supernatural episode has been instigated by Morgan as a test for Arthur and his knights, and to frighten Guinevere. Morgan’s importance to this particular narrative has been disputed and called a deus ex machina[9] and simply an artistic device to further connect Gawain’s episode to the Arthurian story.
In the legends of Charlemagne, she is most famous for her association with Ogier the Dane, whom she takes to her mystical island palace to be her lover. In the chanson de geste of Huon de Bordeaux, Morgan is the mother of the fairy king Oberon by none other than Julius Caesar.[10]

In folklore

The Fata Morgana, As Observed in the Harbour of Messina (1884)

Morgan le Fay, or Fata Morgana in Italian, has been associated with Sicily since the Norman conquest of southern Italy.[13] As such she gave her name to the form of mirage common off the shores of Sicily, the Fata Morgana.[13] The medieval romance Floriant et Florete places Morgan’s mountain home of Montegibel on Sicily, and later Italian folklore describes Morgan as living in Mount Etna.[1

wonderful/best characterization of Morgan:


excerpts from wikipedia:

The Mists of Avalon is a 1983 novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley, in which she relates the Arthurian legends from the perspective of the female characters. The book follows the trajectory of Morgaine (often called Morgan le Fay in other works), a priestess fighting to save her matriarchal Celtic culture in a country where patriarchal Christianity threatens to destroy the pagan way of life.[1] The epic is focused on the lives of Gwenhwyfar, Viviane, Morgause, Igraine and other women who are often marginalized in Arthurian retellings. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are supporting rather than main characters.
The Mists of Avalon is in stark contrast to most other retellings of the Arthurian tales, which consistently cast Morgan le Fay as a distant, one-dimensional evil sorceress, with little or no explanation given for her antagonism to the Round Table. In this case Morgaine is presented as a woman with unique gifts and responsibilities at a time of enormous political and spiritual upheaval who is called upon to defend her indigenous matriarchal heritage against impossible odds. The Mists of Avalon stands as a watershed for feminist interpretation of male-centered myth by articulating women’s experiences at times of great change and shifts in genderpower. The typical battles, quests, and feuds of King Arthur’s reign act as secondary elements to the women’s lives.
The story is told in four large parts: Book One: Mistress of Magic, Book Two: The High Queen, Book Three: The King Stag, and Book Four: The Prisoner in the Oak. The novel was a best-seller upon its publication and remains popular to this day. Bradley and Diana L. Paxson later expanded the book into the Avalon series.


The Mists of Avalon is lauded as one of the most original and emotional retellings of the familiar Arthurian legend. Bradley received much praise for her convincing portrayal of the main protagonists, respectful handling of the Pagan ways of Avalon and for telling a story in which there is neither black and white or good and evil, but several truths. Isaac Asimov called it “the best retelling of the Arthurian Saga I have ever read”, and Jean Auel noted “I loved this book so much I went out and bought it for a friend, and have told many people about it.”[5] The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction calls the book “a convincing revision of the Arthurian cycle,” and said that the victory of Christianity over the “sane but dying paganism” of Avalon “ensures eons of repression for women and the vital principles they espouse.” It won the 1984 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel and spent four months on the New York Times best seller list in hardcover. The trade paperback edition of Mists of Avalon has ranked among the top five trade paperbacks on the monthly Locus bestseller lists for almost four years

PROSE PIECE  from Not Quite Tomas, revised poems by Pd Lyons

Dharma le Fay
What if I told you; instead of healing – I killed? In order to heal the land I killed the man? He sleeps no sleep of dreams that’s for sure. But think, what came after? The land replenished, nourished well all those who lived upon it. Their power grew and spread. Places I never knew existed, owed allegiance to that tiny land.
But now these days, here we go again. But this time no worthy sacrifice. Besides I’m tired of it all. Maybe they should learn the lessons of their own history. Either way they’ll not get me involved this time. I’m much too tired to go through all that again. And for what? I did the best that could be done and all I ever got was a bad rap for being the woman.
Maybe I’ll go find that Merlin.. I’m sure he’ll still go for me and after that? Couldn’t we lay together for a while, wrapped in each others arms, perchance to dream and dream and dream again? Ah well. Now, where was it I left him? A tree? A cave? Or was it under some stone stuck like a sword, waiting once more for my strong and guiding hands…
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