Frances Browner

Congratulations to Frances Browner

Words Ireland Mentoring Programme 2019

Again,  congratulations to Frances.

Frances has been chosen from 300 candidates to receive one of 21 mentoring places.
Successful candidates will receive one-to-one mentoring with professional mentors|writers.

We are delighted that Frances will be furthering her professional writing career.
And very happy to have her associated with GCS.

If you have any interest at all in writing,  why not join Frances each Wednesday evening ??
Putting your thoughts and feelings on paper can be very helpful and restorative.

Try it and see !!

Famine Walk

On Carrownisky strand the sun is rising.
Rosarie and her roosters flock to greet me.
With a flap of feather and cock-a-doodle-doo
their welcome not for me, but hope for food.

Overnight, Michael’s cow has calved.
‘A young bull,’ he announces with pride
taking dairy nuts to the heifer, for a treat
‘To soothe her,’ he says, to make his peace.

In 1849, the villagers of Louisburgh trudged
twelve miles to Delphi Lodge. Were turned
away to starve on the road back. Their blood
seeping the dark waters of Doolough.

At the town twinning with Louisbourg, Nova Scotia
we dine on ham hock terrine, creamed potatoes
slow-roasted beef in wine sauce. Four hundred
corpses linger, mouths green from chewing grass.

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Frances Browner, creative writing/history tutor, had short fiction and memoirs published and broadcast on Irish radio before she was bitten by the poetry bug four years ago. Since then, her poems have appeared in print and online journals. A Micro-Chap of fifteen poems, SELFIES, was released by Ghost City Press, NY, this summer. Frances facilitates the Scriobh Aris writing workshop in GCSG every week and the monthly Open Mic in Mrs. Robinson’s on the last Wednesday of the month.


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Memory of my Father after Kavanagh

Every aged man I see,
Reminds me of my father
Easter lily pinned, lying at peace
Last Spring, no words to proffer.

That man I saw on Main Street
Stagger and fall was he
Marbled eyes daring to meet
Vacant, lost, for all to see.

And I remember the writer,
A scholar and sometimes poet
In Nora’s bar in summer,
His light shone there for a moment.

Every elderly man I see
In July’s long pleasant days,
A kindly spirit whispers to me,
“A chara, with love, your father”

Deirdre McKernan (Crosby)
June 2019

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Poem recognises Kavanaghs poetic style and accounts of everyday observations family and country life
McKernan family roots – Monaghan.

Dad: Born in Gorbels, Glasgow, raised in Donegal, educated in Galway, he never forgot his Monaghan family who we visited as a family in the 60s. Access through a field of potatoes!!

He was also a fluent speaker of Irish.
60s – our family witnessed a life changing event when his wife of only 13 years suddenly left home never to return.

His life went into freefall drinking too much over many years – met and sipped a few with Kavanagh in An Beal Bocht (pub just off the canal in Dublin)

Often times a period of immense pain for the entire family.

In his final years with dementia and life threatening illnesses, his family supported him unconditionally to a dignified and peaceful ending.

Deirdre McKernan Crosby


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GCS Scríobh Arís Writing Group Poems in Bray Arts Journal

Well done to writers from our Scríobh Arís Writing Group !!
Frances Browner and Deirdre Crosby have had their work published.

The September Bray Arts Journal was launched last Friday,  27 February 2019.
The launch was part of the Bray Literary Festival 2019.

Included in the Bray Arts Journal is a poem by Frances Browner,  Nor’easter 2003.
Frances Browner facilitates our GCS Scríobh Arís Writing Group.
Frances is a renowned writer and has much published work to her credit.

Also published is a poem by Deirdre Crosby,  Uninvited Guest.
This is Deirdre’s first poem to be published.
The poem was written and workshopped at Scríobh Arís.

We are so proud of our writers and our group and wish them future success !!
Both poems will be on our GCS website shortly.
You will be able to read and enjoy them for yourselves !!

Frances and Deirdre will also have their work published next month.
Boyne Berries Magazine,  a bi-monthly literary journal,  based in Trim,  Co. Meath.
Our GCS Scríobh Arís Group meets Wednesday evenings in GCS @7.30 pm.
Last Wednesday of the month,  the group meets in Mrs. Robinson’s.

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Bio of poem:

An ordinary spring morning in February 2014 brought about my first cancer diagnosis.
I entered a room full of women sharing the same circumstances – a lot of anxiety and fear filled the air.  I spoke quietly to the lady next to me who was very anxious and tried to reassure her all would be well, all the time asking myself, why am I here?  I had no symptoms whatsoever, so felt at relative ease.
What transpired within the next few hours changed my life forever.
I am grateful for the intervention and multiple procedures that brought about my diagnosis.  I may not have been able to tell of this episode with cancer.
The sun was still shining when I walked out to continue my life.
(A second diagnosis followed 2 years later.)  


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February ‘14, a letter through the door.
Routine.  No problem.  I put it in a drawer.

Mammogram over. Time well spent.
Sigh of relief.  So glad I went.

What’s this now, another envelope?
A voice whispers “don’t despair, have hope”.

Waiting room.  Anxiety.  Unspoken fear.
A lady calls my name, “Come this way, dear.”

Lying in the dark, eyes fixed to a screen.
Images.  Shadows. A silent wish to scream.

Another lady enters, tall, focused, searching
She makes a brisk note, my stomach lurching

Biopsy painful.  Excruciating.  Distress.
Mind spins out of control; heart races.

“Sit, please.  Take a breath”.  I try to rest.
Diagnosis reveals an uninvited guest.

Where?  How?  Why?  Gently answered.
It’s life changing, early-stage cancer.

Deirdre McKernan (Crosby)
April 2019

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 For Jakob

February 16th, President’s Day
A blizzard hits the US of A
Historical, record-breaking sleet
Knocks the East Coast to its feet.

A white mantle covers Riverdale
Cocooned, can’t see my car
Blocked in all day on Broadway
It’s a boy, I get the call.

In Greystones, a golden child is born
Six pounds, zero ounces, scribbled down
Blonde hair, blue eyes, smiling cherub
His name shall be known as Jakob.

“I don’t want to be a grandson!”
He wails in the family photograph
“I don’t want to go to Tasmania!”
He wobbles the immigrant ship
“I can’t believe it’s in black and white!”
He whines at the Wizard of Oz in the Mermaid
On ‘getting to know our county’ trips.

Now sixteen, in Transition Year
Scholar, sportsman, Temple Carrig peer
Star in his high school musical, Rat Trap
Charming, good-looking, it’s a wrap.

Still the main man on our expeditions
Leading lad on cousin excursions
Chatting up a storm on the beach in Brittas
Bombarding us with hugs and kisses.

As New York was paralyzed by gales
Closed roads, airports shut, train delays
Coastal floods, erosion, heavy snow

A whirlwind was gathering force in Wicklow

Frances Browner

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The Aftermath, New Booklet by Niamh Fortune

Our very own Niamh Fortune has written her personal story.
Now published in an excellent booklet.
Niamh’s booklet was launched at our GCS Summer Lunch last month !!

Special thanks to Frances Browner,  from Scríobh Arís and Poets Corner,  for editing help.
And special thanks to Deirdre Crosby for help with layout and design.

Copies of this wonderful booklet are available at GCS.
We will post out copies to those who are unable to call in.
Just let us know at 01 287 1601 or

Special Note

Niamh will be a guest on East Coast FM’s Morning Show with Declan Meehan.
This coming Thursday,  11 July @10.30 am.
Make sure to mark your calendars and listen in.
This will be a great interview and you don’t want to miss it !!

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