Friday, 14 July 2017

Cordella magazine





I feel so honoured to share that I have work in the beautiful new Cordella magazine issue 'Becoming'. These pieces are unbearably moving to read so long after having been written. Thankyou Cate and the team of strong women at Cordella for sharing part of my journey in your wonderful journal.



http://www.cordella.org/#/gather/




Monday, 29 May 2017

Spread the Word Life Writing Prize

https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Kerri-Ni-Dochartaigh-Mudlarking-.pdf








































'Mudlarking' has been highly commended in the 'Spread the Word' Life Writing Competition. 


There are no words to describe how grateful I feel. 



Thursday, 27 April 2017

Smugachán Sráide




An exhibition exploring the theme of 'Border' by a group of female artists in Doire-Derry-Londonderry, Spring 2017.
















The Irish words 'Smugachán Sráide' translate to 'snotty nosed street child' in English, or : 'Mudlarking'. The term originated in London as a cruel slur on the poor folk (mostly children) that scavenged their way up and down the River Thames at low tide. Unlike the majestic, soaring skylark, these orphans were impoverished, alone and living on the edges of living. Like that bird though, they were masters of their own geography, imprisoned by none, wading to their own songs. Finding parts of themselves reflected back through the mud and gloaming; free as a bird. A body of water knows no borders. She is held delicately in the in-between place between longing and landscape, carrying us in her strong flow to spaces unknown; unmapped territories. I recently had a piece of artwork on display in an exhibition entitled ‘Border’ alongside 23 other female artists. My piece was a circle made of pieces of crockery that were gathered after a great storm in Donegal the morning before the Vernal Equinox. That morning I awoke from a dream in which I had been gathering displaced birds, smuggled shells, broken parts of bones and old China that the sea had deposited at a house right at the mouth of a sheltered cove. A handful of hours later I mudlarked the pieces from a deep, stinking overflow sewage bend. That night I dreamed of almost drowning in a long, dark sewer as very small children walked a line that became a circle, undoing locked gates with their unbearably haunting singing. 




















river
diver;
giver- of myth and broken things.


mud
mad;
mid-way – caught in the in-between: buried in deepening BOGLIGHT; lost.



                                               LARK / DARK;
         MARK THIS POINT: A CHILD IS SCAVENGING WHERE THE
                                      MIRROR MEETS THE MIRE.




wade
made;
fade- far beneath the tideline; drawn to the hidden depths- like a moth to the moon.


bed
wed;
led- to the surface like the Sea Mither rising from the belly of the storm; spat out shards of terrifying beauty; found.












Tuesday, 20 December 2016

The dance

The wind was soft and pink when I awoke in the first whisper of the morning and it was carrying starlings -chattering, making for the sky from the rooftops; living. In my dream we were in a different season. The winter hadn't yet tightened his grip upon the expectant world, and the trees weren't fully bare; golden hues of light dripped down onto newly fallen leaves. It was Samhain, the eve when the veil is lifted and the past, present and the future can be viewed from any place along the river that flows;deep and darkening. Quicker than the dawn drags the sun back to the cold, ethereal world, the night fell and all at once I could see you through the crowds that stood like oaks on the other side of the river from where the real oaks stand- ancient and folkloric; makers of the myths of time.

The river began to fill up with reflected and refracted light; fireworks and lanterns on the still surface. You were right beside me then and I could see the crackled parts of your strong, kind hands. A huge, dark shadow appeared on the top of the water and I looked up into the night sky and saw a large, mechanical bird- higher than the tallest building along the quay but low enough to still be visible. The bird was blacker than coal, its handmade feathers dancing in the air as a long piece of willow moved the creature in dream-like rhythm. Feather tips silken and hollow right through yet stronger than the moon's pull on our earth.
I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that the bird was mine, every part of its structure belonged to me alone. I owned that large black raven in the Autumn's night sky. And then, all out of no place that could be seen at all, another bird appeared, right behind the black one . Almost identical in size and form but utterly white all over. It almost mirrored my black one in its fine and controlled movements, their wings being made to flap in near perfect unison.

When you first told me she, too, was my bird, I could not hear your words. It was as if the world had lost its soundscape; quietude in the freshness. And then you covered my ears, gently, and mouthed to me as clear as daybreak -'She, too, is yours.'

Silence filled up all the spaces in between for what felt like a long drawn century but slowly, softly, I found my voice, once more, and asked of you- 'Can they only see the black one? Does anyone else see the white bird, too?'
'My love', you whispered, your voice filled with soothing certainty. 'Only you can see your birds. All that everyone else sees is the light show they dance upon the water. The birds are yours to carry, always. They will always fill your sky. But all the shadows they make are yours to keep as well. And from this night on, it is you that will take control.'

As you placed both willow sticks into my hands I watched as my movements made my birds dance, the black one and the white one together. Their feathers filled the river beneath with bright, golden light that made me weep, softly.
'This is in your hands, alone, now. Enjoy the dance, dear child. '

Monday, 4 January 2016

Rust



We talk of rust and tin
and a five year plan
as rain pounds down on an old convent roof.
I remember you from a time long gone,
on a street at the top of where we both lay claim.

Your face- weathered, misted; beautiful,

haunts the deepest parts of me.
Eyes- bluer than cloudless skies,
greyer than industrial steel; 
majestic in the Autumn haze.

Rust spills out of cracks in the world

and I imagine the rest of our days
spent under decaying sheds,
in the West.



Tuesday, 24 March 2015

For * N o r t h *







* S O R R O W * is only when you're waiting for the light to come back. 







North



Soft, translucent light shoots down from a far-away place
as the landscape turns green, again, slowly.
Pale neon lichen on top of storm-beaten branches
and I remember Vik; snow falling horizontally onto raven black sand.



Soundscapes of swans and deep white stillness
fills up my insides
and I know that it is coming back, once more;
the circle has started to turn.