Claire Loader

Undercurrents

We met at the Tip Head, where we always went, out to the rocks that stretched like hands into the sea, huge chunks of hard earth that screamed defiance at the ocean.  The dark swirling waters crashed against its base as we made our way cautiously around the small beacon, sitting then in our usual spot, back to the town, surrounded by the waves.   It felt like we were on the edge of the world out on those rocks, even though we knew we were simply looking at Australia, out there somewhere past the horizon, staring back at us with her heat and her yellow sand beaches. 

I pulled a joint from my pocket, my hand searching in the other for the lighter I hoped I’d put there.  I lit the twisted end and huddled back into my hoodie, our legs touching briefly as we sought a pretence of warmth. 

It was a pity Shane was gay, I thought, remembering back to that awkward scene in high school – a mixture of too many beers, of too much denial.

“Shane, we have known each other forever, why are we not together?  You know I love you.”

“Meg”.  There had been a long pause, as if his tone was trying desperately to tell me before he did. “You know I’m gay.”

Maybe I had known, but that didn’t stop me from lying back on the bed and nearly choking in my own snot and tears.

I took a long drag as I watched the tops of the waves peak and trough, their white heads disappearing into the deep undercurrent below.  “So, I was listening to a podcast the other day.  About how language is literally the foundation to our reality.”

Shane’s hand suddenly appeared in front of me, his fingers coaxing the joint from mine. “What do you mean?”

 “Like, this idea that our world is limited to the words we use.  That words are like code, like on the Matrix, you know?  All that green shit running down on the screen.  That what we experience is the result of some sort of binary code.  Literally mind before matter. ”

Shane laughed.  “So, you’re saying that not only am I stuck in this shitty little town, I’m stuck inside my own shitty vocabulary now is it?”

I started giggling as the smoke swirled and danced around us, mixing with the sea spray and my own giddiness with it. “But Shane spoke English good, no?”

We laughed into the roar of the water, the stones slowly curling in to embrace us.

“Well, we could be optimistic too, ya know.  Maybe it means we have the power to rewrite things.”

“What, you turn into a hot guy and we escape this town on Gandalf’s pony, is it?”

I punched him, swiping the remainder of the joint, chuckling into its tiny blaze.  “Or you just be less of a dick.  Can’t be too hard to write that code, can it?”

He punched me back and laughed.  Our shoulders leaning softly against each other as we both sat in our own thoughts.   My body drifting into the same miasmic rhythms of the water before us, as words lost their meaning and my mind floated out to sea.

*

Biography

Claire Loader was born in New Zealand and spent several years in China before moving to County Galway, Ireland, where she now lives with her family.  A photographer and writer, she was a recent finalist in the Women Speak poetry competition and blogs at www.allthefallingstones.com. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Crannóg, Dodging The Rain, Tales From The Forest and Pendora.

 

N.K. Woods

Limited Vocabulary 

The unpredictability of fate saw me factor punctures, toilet breaks and tantrums into our journey time to the airport, so we arrive far too early – but better to sit in the car for an hour than risk being late. Whispering, we decide to park for a while in the lay-by opposite the runway. Minutes pass in silence, but the relentless parade of planes is hypnotic to watch and I savour the calm, knowing that it won’t last much longer. I glance back, between our seats, to check on Anna. She needs to wake soon so we can tackle the post-nap whimpers in privacy, but the coming day will be long and I can’t bring myself to disturb her peace.

‘You did great, getting her into that dress,’ says Simon, softly. ‘I was ready to give in and let her wear leggings. But she looks perfect, not that it matters. I mean…’ His voice trails off but I don’t press him to continue. Instead I take his hand in mine and hold it tight, only letting go when Anna finally stirs.   

‘Si?’ Her small voice is doubtful, verging on scared, and we both twist around. She frowns at Simon’s suit – the unfamiliar outfit that transforms him from uncle to stranger.

‘Hey, sweetheart,’ he says.

When recognition replaces drowsiness and her frown fades, I gently rub her arm. ‘Wow – that was some nap. My turn now.’ I pretend to yawn and fake a noisy snore.

There’s a pause when the mood could go either way, but then she giggles. ‘I’m hungry.’

That’s one problem I can solve. ‘Me too! So, we have crackers, bananas and raisins.’

‘Hate bananas.’ A frown accompanies the statement but she doesn’t hesitate before adding, ‘I’ll give them to Daddy.’

The words shoot from her mouth like flares, and I look to Simon for help.

‘Anna, remember what Mum said before she left?’ He speaks very slowly, as if his throat is sore, but his eyes never leave her face. ‘Last night, she told you about it again when she rang to say goodnight. Remember – she’s bringing Dad home?’

A plane taxiing along the runway is more interesting than us and she ignores the question. Further delicate probing fails to elicit any reaction, although she’s been told everything – in simple terms.

I stare at Simon, unsure whether to spell things out or leave that job for his sister. 

‘What’s that?’ squeals Anna. She kicks the back of my seat while squirming for a better view.

The burst of excitement is startling, but we follow her eye-line and see movement on the grassy strip beyond the wire fence.

‘Hares,’ replies Simon, ‘like superhero rabbits. They love this place.’

She watches them, and we watch her. She makes up stories about them, and we listen. These empty minutes could be filled with something more substantial than raisins and nonsense talk, but that’s how we pass the time.

And then Simon starts the engine, shaking his head expressively as we fall in with the traffic.

We travel in silence but at a red light Anna mumbles to herself. On the second attempt she speaks with more confidence. ‘Cat.’

I expect to see a stray animal outside, but quickly realise she’s sounding out the slogan on the van beside us. ‘Well done. Longer than cat though.’ I spell out catering and explain what it means.

It doesn’t take long to reach the main airport junction, where another red light makes us wait to turn left. The first word on the signpost pointing down the side road is cargo, so when she says car, I repeat the process – spell and explain.

Then my eyes begin to swim; I clamp them shut, blocking out the next word on the board.

‘Mor,’ she says, enjoying her new game. The fragment is repeated when I fail to play along, and a wobble enters her voice. ‘You have to finish it!’

Simon answers for me, but only when the signpost is no longer visible. His tone is flat and low as he works through the letters, but mortuary is a hard word to spell at any age.

*

Biography

N.K. Woods lives in Kildare and has recently completed a Masters in Creative Writing.

Colin Watts

Last Things, Lost Things

My dearest Carol,

How are the old bones? Creaking and groaning like mine, no doubt. Skeletons in an empty cupboard, eh? How odd that we revere those of our ancestors as though they still lived; how we preserve the fossilised remains of dinosaurs and mammoths as precious relics. Remember how excited we were at getting hold of that that final hoard of tusk and horn, the way it fell almost unbidden into our hands. How ironic then for us to lock it away in trust for the grandchildren we didn’t have; not knowing, as we do now, that we never would.

I remember so clearly the day our Last Things Project began? I’m sure you do, too. What great shots we both were, even at the beginning. Like our first kiss, bagging those red kites was magical, though the flesh, as I’m sure you recall, was a little stringy. Not at all like your sweet lips, call me sentimental if you will! Ah, but those nests of rare humming-bird fledglings we served on the Project’s tenth anniversary. Each one wrapped in its own little feather coat; so tender, so sweet. How poignant for each of our guests to be sucking the marrow from one of the most beautiful creatures ever to grace God’s earth. Such moving tributes. Such gratitude for nature’s bounty. Oh those yesterdays, when nature still had bounty left to give; when her miracles seemed boundless and endless; when we still had faith in a divine being who would step in and save us from ourselves before we reached the tipping point.

Remember that year we made our pilgrimage to California. Weren’t we the lucky ones to find the oldest known surviving Redwood? It’s that one, I said, and that one it was, confirmed by the official counting of the rings. I say luck, but intuition distilled from the experience of a lifetime might be nearer to the truth. Too bad that special auger recommended by top arboriculturists should have become irrevocably wedged, only a few seconds before it would have been withdrawn and our hopes realised or dashed. A thousand dollars-worth of equipment; we couldn’t just leave it there, could we?

Though each of our expeditions has given us the privilege of communing intimately with a different one of God’s creations, for me it was that final Scandinavian trip that was the culmination of our Project. A true triple whammy, I’m sure you’ll agree. Firstly, the trip north from Oslo in that tiny jet, draining our life’s savings for those last precious drops of aviation fuel, from what was left of the aptly named black gold market, along with our hunting permits. And then to be able to put out of their misery one of the last herds of reindeer, their lives poisoned by the parasites that were thriving in the warming air. It was an act of kindness in my opinion, though I couldn’t stop the old hunting instinct rising up, sitting targets though the desperate creatures were. And I can’t help thinking that those last few Sami herders, ravaged by poverty, disease and alcohol, might have wanted us to deal with them in the same humane way we dealt with their ravaged herds. And then to return to our wooden eco-hut and stand there, hand in hand, among the last humans on earth to glimpse the Aurora Borealis, only hours before the permacloud rolled in and hid it permanently from sight. A triple whammy indeed! Now, we can do nothing more than to pray to the God who has abandoned us for its miraculous return. As the storm clouds gather pace, we can only be thankful to have been able to purchase such wonderful memories of Mother Nature’s bounty.

My dear, this may well be the last time I am able to get in touch. I would love to be with you at the end, but given how little time we have left, I think we must give thanks to glorious lives well-lived and lay our Project well and truly to rest.

 

I miss you so much.

Your ever-loving Phil.

 

*

Biography

Colin is seventy five, married, with grown up children and has lived in Liverpool for many years.

Publications include two poetry collections in print and short stories on-line and in magazines and anthologies. He’s had plays performed in and around Liverpool.

He cycles everywhere and cultivates a quarter of an allotment. He is a long-standing member of the Dead Good Poets Society and co-runs a regular Story Night at The Bluecoat Arts Centre in Liverpool.

 

Facebook: Colin Watts

Twitter: Colin Watts @FentimanW

Website: http://www.colin-watts-poetry.com/

Clodagh O’Connor

Trading Tales

How ugly he was, his oddly split tail hanging down from the rock where he sat, his soft dark hair lifting in the wind, strange bumps on his face.  The lure of his song was too strong to resist though, she had to answer it with her own. She swam closer to the shore, letting their combined sounds wash over her. He saw her and beckoned her closer. Fearful, but curious, she swung up beside him and he gazed at her with wonder.  Her seaweed hair hung around a flat-featured face, her tail curled under her and she met his stare directly.

“So the stories are true”, he said. “Are there other mer-folk like you?”

“Dive with me and see them”, she replied, leaping into the water. He followed her without hesitation and together they descended. Long before they reached her kingdom the man turned and swam to the surface. She followed and held him afloat as he fought to regain breath.

“It is too far for me”, he explained, when he could speak once more, “Will you not come to my palace?”

“I cannot move upon land as you can”, she said “but I will return to this rock to meet you tomorrow and we will share stories of our kingdoms.”

For many weeks they shared their stories. They grew accustomed to each other and no longer thought the other strange or ugly. Their sadness grew stronger at each parting, until one day the mermaid said, “I will find a way to come to your world”.

She left him then, diving into the depths where the sea-witch lived.  The deep sea was cold and dark, but the mermaid could see faintly glowing pearls lighting the way to the caves she sought. The witch smiled to see her approach.

“What is it that you desire, my child?”

“To walk among the earthbound, to be with my love.”

“Why leave your home, my dear, when your prince could come here? I wish to meet him. Put this over his head and he will breathe under the water as we do.”

The mermaid took the round object in her hands in wonder. She hesitated then and asked, “What do you require for payment?” The witch replied, “I would see this prince of yours, bring him here when you find him.”

The mermaid immediately swam back to the rocks, but the prince was not there. For many days she haunted the shore, singing sadly at the place where they met, but no answering music came to her. In despair, she returned to the sea-witch and asked for a spell to bring the prince to the shore.

“You want to see him, dearie? Just look into my scrying pool.”

The mermaid’s gills contracted as she caught sight of her beloved dancing with an earthbound princess. He was holding her close as they spun gracefully around a great hall. He had never held her in such an embrace. The witch watched her changing expressions with glee, but simply said, “Your love will be on the shore tonight. Remember to bring him to me.”

She heard his song as soon as she surfaced by the rocks. She swam to him and presented the witch’s gift. He slipped it over his head and together they dived deep. A great sense of unease came over the prince as they approached the sea-witch’s cave, it was only then that he discovered he could neither speak nor hear.

The witch stood over the mermaid and forced her to look once more into the scrying pool. “See how your love gazes deep into the eyes of that princess, how can he love you with your flat face and sharp teeth? He will not leave the beauties of his land for the roughness of the sea.”

The mermaid was swayed by the witch’s words; accepting gifts from such a creature put her under her power. The witch pressed her advantage and handed a small trident to her. “One stab through the heart,” the malicious creature whispered, “and he will be yours forever.”

The prince held out his hands as she approached him, seeing the weapon, but trusting his love. The mermaid gazed deep into his eyes, raised the trident high and slashed twice. Gashes opened in both sides of his throat, the mermaid ripped the covering from his head. As his legs transformed into a sleek tail, he took his first breath as one of her kind.

*

Biography

Clodagh O’Connor has been an aspiring writer since age 8, but only really starting to scribble now (in her 50s). She also writes haiku, has two sons and one husband, is interested in telecoms, likes maths and makes origami boxes.

 

Sheena Power

A Glass Coffin

Black as ebony, white as snow. That was me. I’m turning grey now. My skin is pale as ever except where liver spots cluster, mottling my hands. I am turning into an old toad. And no kiss can make me a princess again. I was Snow White, I was those three things: black hair, white skin, red mouth. And that, I see now, was all I was.

The Queen at least had her witchcraft – she had an interest. In the evenings I waste candles going through her books. Odd snatches catch me – to thwart an adulterer, break an acorn in two and hide half under each party’s pillow, and so long as ’tis so, the lovers never can meet – but I was never schooled to concentrate. I find it hard going, to turn myself into a scholar.

If I were clever, I would not envy my lady-in-waiting so much. Olivia is gold, like morning sunlight. Her skin glows with rose-petal youth. When she joins me at the mirror, I look away. I try to care more about books than beauty, and I wonder how I would feel if I had her heart cut out.

It is the famed mirror, yes. The Queen did not care for mirrors when first she came here. I think my father admired that, but the courtiers talked. It is said you can trap a witch in a mirror, and there were whispers that the new Queen avoided them from fear. So my father gave her this one, knowing its magical properties would intrigue her. I don’t believe he knew its real power. He loved her, after all.

My prince, the king, looks put out at breakfast. “I found an acorn in my bed,” he snaps at his man as they enter the room. “Have we squirrels for chambermaids?”

He sits, and then I do, Olivia drawing out my chair. His eyes focus above my head, and he smiles. In the mirror opposite, she blooms more lovely than ever. Perhaps, perhaps a kiss could restore me to beauty. Were kisses to be had.

For all that she was a murderer, the Queen wrote an elegant hand. To enter her diary is to enter her mind, and oh, what a marvellous mind it was. Filled with herb-lore and alchemy and astronomy, peopled with philosophers and poets and travellers. I dally there, as in a wondrous country.

What caused my step-mother to turn from the grandeur of her magic to the paltriness of envy? Her dreams shrank, over the years – I see this, in her later journals. A soul as large as the night sky, curled up like burnt paper. And what ate away at my step-mother, has kept me meek and biddable. We were both, in our way, captured by the thought that we were nothing but pretty reflections in a glass.

“His Royal Highness awaits your Majesty.”

“I… will dine in my private quarters.” She asks if I am unwell. I shrug, not caring what reason she gives. I find as his love falls away from me, my own dissipates like vapour. I see him clearly now. The door closes. I resume my reading.

In the margins are scribbled spells. To become beautiful; to become invisible. These opposites jolt me, and I pause to decipher them. To become invisible, destroy the m… maiden? No. The mirror.

I lay down the journal. There is the tail of an idea, sly and elusive, almost such that thinking on it will scare it away. Instead, I feel.

I feel the weight of beauty, weighing more the more it slips from me. But even in youth, it felt a kind of carapace, defining my limits – a transparent coffin. I was black hair, and white skin, and no more. And no, the mischief was not done by others thinking me so – it was done when I figured beauty as the sum of myself.

When I explore the world in her books, I feel… excited, happy. I see this only now, in hindsight, because when I am immersed there I do not notice how I feel – I am transparent to myself. I become invisible. Instead of seeing myself, I see the world. And it fills me with curious heady pleasure.

To be invisible to others is a charm beyond my powers – at least, it is they who decide whether or not to see me. But to be invisible to oneself. There is a thought. Is this the spell I have been seeking?

*

Biography

Sheena Power is an illustrator from Dublin. Her work ranges from dragons on the cover of JRR Tolkien: the Forest & the City, to Christmas cards for scientists. Although she draws for a living, her real love is writing. Her stories Aurelia Aurita and On the Matter of Dublin’s Gargoyle Population were published in Tales From The ForestA Cloak As Red As Blood was published in Enchanted Magazine, and Queen was shortlisted for the 2015 Allingham Award and subsequently published in Boyne Berries.

Elizabeth Gibson

Noelle

The ice is so hard and cold and the arena spins around and around, so white and shiny and yet so technicolour: turquoise and pink, cyan and red, artificial and unloving in a way she should be used to but never will be. They tell her that her name means birth, call her Natalia or Natasha. They shift around her, eyes trained and hungry, watching jump after jump, spin after spin and they say, you could be Russian. You are good enough. You will go somewhere. Where? Who knows. But somewhere.

We’re going to a new town in November, Maman says. Avignon. What? Doesn’t Papa live there now? Does he? I don’t know. Anyway, don’t worry, angel, they have a rink. You will get your practice. You will still be a superstar, my darling.

She laughs sadly. She flicks a tendril of hair from her eyes and it falls straight back. She slumps over the packing as if she has given up. The world seems to be getting darker. The rink doesn’t even look light or white any more. Black spots dance before Noelle’s eyes and blinking doesn’t make them go away.

The water is so bright and blue. The Rhône, they call it. It is like a sapphire. It feels like winter here. In the city it never did, especially not when Noelle was standing on a field of ice. It felt like she existed outside of the world, in a strange, loud, flashy season that never changed. Here she walks into silence as thick as wind. She crouches by the tall grass, sees fish darting and birds hopping on the bank that falls away from her feet. The trees are brown and gold and orange – earthy colours. Or earthly. She’d forgotten they could be real. She breathes out. She settles under the famous, broken bridge, legs crossed. She is chilly. There is no one there. She stays.

It is in December that he arrives: a tall goat-like thing, scraggly and smug. He is not malevolent, she can tell. He doesn’t talk much. He just tells her it is getting colder.

Five days a week the new rink swirls around her and blurs her senses. She lands more jumps than ever before and they cheer. New them. Same noise. Same eyes. Same loss of anything that matters. More darkness. More and more and more.

Winter creeps on and the Rhône freezes. She slips to the bank every night after practice. Under the bridge she curls, knees tucked under her chin. The ice on the river glimmers silver and gold in the late sun. He is there, and he dances around her, his long green scarf clinging to him like a vine as he smirks at her skates and sings softly, hypnotically. Words from some other place and time.

“Go on. Go on. I want to see you.

Go on. It will hold.”

Right. Axel. Good. Land. Hand in the air, don’t touch the ice. It stings, so cold like the edge of a can. Sharp. Head up. Arms out, now spin, gracious. Yes. One leg up, good, now loop, now flip. Excellent. Keep going. Hear your heart crying out, feel your blood washing inside your face in a way it never has, feel the momentum, the motion, the pulse, as you go round and round, round and round, everything building and burning as if preparing for the moment

when it all will stop.

*

Biography

Elizabeth Gibson was announced as a New North Poet at the 2017 Northern Writers’ Awards. Her writing has appeared in CakeThe Cardiff Review, The CompassCreative ReviewInk, Sweat & Tears, Litro and The Poetry Shed. She edits Foxglove Journal and the Word Life section of Now Then Manchester, tweets @Grizonneand blogs at http://elizabethgibsonwriter.blogspot.co.uk.

Anne Goodwin

I Want Doesn’t Get 

I wanted cheesecake and a chocolate fountain but I didn’t want to pop the button on my best black skirt. I wanted a bronze plaque on a bench beside the bowling green and souvenir service sheets on embossed paper with a photo at the front.

I wanted a poem in the paper but my sister thought it sentimental and swapped it for prose. I wanted rosewood with brass handles but she insisted plywood would suffice. I wanted lilies but my sister didn’t want the smell.

I wanted a spa with a grand conservatory but my sister booked the function room at the local pub. I wanted “Abide With Me” but my sister can’t abide it. I don’t want an argument but I’m sick of being overruled.

I want doesn’t get our mother used to say, so I tucked my wants away while awaiting my reward. I watched my sister get, and plenty, so why did I miss out?

I would’ve wanted to go to college if I’d got the grades. I would’ve wanted a white wedding if anyone had proposed. I would’ve wanted to travel if I wasn’t so scared. I would’ve wanted my own life if Mum hadn’t wanted me in hers.

I want a glass of sherry but I’m drinking tea. I don’t want to be trapped in a corner by my mother’s friends from church. I want someone to ask how I’m feeling as if they really want to know. I want to be born again in my sister’s skin.

I want her to forget where she left her handbag. I want her not to notice her keys have gone astray. We both know she can’t get into her penthouse apartment without them. She can’t unlock her brand-new coupé.

I want her not to guess where I hid them. But I want doesn’t always get. So I’m learning to generate my own getting. It can’t be difficult; my sister’s done it all her life.

I don’t care whether she learns anything in the process. I don’t care if she finds her keys or not. But she’ll have to dig deep to retrieve them. Because I wanted to bury them within the folds of our mother’s shroud.

*

Biography

Anne Goodwin’s debut novel, Sugar and Snails was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, was published in 2017. “I Want Doesn’t Get” will appear in her short story collection, Becoming Someone, on the theme of identity launches on Facebook on November 23rd, 2018, where the more people participate the more she’ll donate to Book Aid International. A former clinical psychologist, Anne is also a book blogger with a particular interest in fictional therapists.

Website: annegoodwin.weebly.com

Twitter @Annecdotist

 

Steven Ray Smith

Cicatrix

Undiscovered green ferns beside green

mosses beside fallen trees and towering trees

with hosanna branches high up toward the blue,

 

except there is one old oak at the boundary with a rusted strand

of barbed wire eight inches into its heartwood, at least 50 years

ingrown, such that removal requires cutting down the whole trunk.

 

It is an eyesore in this primordial shelter, though

the squirrels that climb the deep bark furrows

to their drey high in its crown deftly sidestep

 

the lockjaw spurs without pause.

Neither do their pups asleep in the dense canopy 

second-guess that their nest is anything but the safest on earth.

 

Maybe the twanging fragment skewering its knot itches

the sapwood when the wind blows. Or maybe the cicatrix

is a handsome trophy of a lone sapling that thwarted the box-in

 

of the wildwoods, acorns still lying on the ground,

originality that required no improvement.  The fragment twangs on.

What was a fence has blown to oxy-dust.

*

Biography

Steven’s poetry has appeared in Slice, The Yale Review, Southwest Review, The Kenyon Review, New Madrid, Tar River Poetry, Flapperhouse and others. New work is forthcoming in Barrow Street, North Dakota Quarterly and Guesthouse. A complete list of publications is at www.StevenRaySmith.org. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Orla Fay

The Elixir of Youth

When all the world’s a classroom

and all the world’s a stage

do you remember writing on the board

and writing on the page?

 

The newspaper indecipherable

spread broadsheet on the floor

the murmurings of language

behind another whispered door?

 

Apple, corn, feathered grass,

a breeze so warm flowers gasp,

a year its been since the last

when in my life I trespassed.

 

Everything was forever

and nothing ever changed

the world beyond the road’s turn

could be seen on summer days.

 

And now that I’ve crossed over

I long only to go back,

to cross that bridge we burned,

to travel in whipcrack.

 

Apple, corn, feathered grass,

a breeze so warm flowers gasp,

a year it’s been since the last

when in my life I trespassed.

 

The sun’s kiss parted

burned the moon’s face

in the waxing of the sovereign

the flame’s state of grace.

 

There is no map, there is no map,

the pendulum swings, to and fro

the hand of the clock cannot be stopped

her smiling face fool’s gold.

*

Biography

Orla Fay is the editor of Boyne Berries since issue 16. Recently her work has appeared in Honest UlstermanCrannógSkylight 47QuarrymanCyphers and is forthcoming in Poetry Ireland Review.  Her poem “North” has been long listed in the OTE New Writer of the Year Competition, 2018. She has just completed the MA in Digital Arts and Humanities at UCC for which she made http://digitalagepoetry.com. She blogs at http://orlafay.blogspot.ie

Kieran Gallagher

Shinrin-yoku: Youth

KgallagherShinrinYukoYouth.jpg

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Biography

Kieran Gallagher is an artist who lives and works in Dublin, Ireland.
He works predominantly in printmaking and drawing but also include photography, paper and sculpture. His work focuses on themes such as childhood nostalgia, memory and travel.
His recent work explores the connections and contrasts between the built and natural environments. An Image, scent or sound can remind us of a place, or a moment in time. His work layers these environments and senses. His drawings begin with reality; photographs and through process are remade;weaving between, dreams and memory.
‘Shinrin Yuko: Youth’ is part of a new series of drawings which explore the phenomenon of forest bathing or Shinrin-Yoku.
The term ‘Shinrin-yoku’ was coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in 1982, and can be defined as making contact with and taking in the atmosphere of the forest (Park B.J, 2010). Several scientific studies have been carried out to determine the health benefits of spending time under the canopy of a living forest.
A recent article in the Environ Health Prev Med Journal looked at both the psychological and physiological effects of forest bathing; in a forest and synthetically in laboratories. This series of drawings explore the idea of natural and synthetic forests invading city living.