The film opens with the Carlo Levi figure in a very reflective mood, surrounded by his portrait paintings of the peasants of southern Italy where he was banished by Mussolini’s government in 1935, and where he found himself forced back into medical practice to do what he could for the sick and ailing, impoverished and ignored people he encountered there. He promised them he would return but he never did.
William Carleton said, he wrote of:
“a class unknown in literature, unknown by their landlords, and unknown by those in whose hands much of their destiny was placed. If I became the historian of their habits and manners … it was because I saw no person willing to undertake a task which must be looked upon as an important one.”
Watercress Soufflé recipe from Regina Sexton’s Little History of Irish Food
Tamasin Day-Lewis, West of Ireland Summers
Caitríona O’Reilly’s Thin
by Victoria Kennefick
Sister, let’s unwrap Lent like a treat,
stroke the smooth chocolate egg beneath,
the one that we couldn’t eat;
the wafer, yes, but no ice-cream.
Little Jesuses in the desert for forty days
and nights, with no dessert.
The devil tapping on our flat-black
window pane before bed;
mother, cutting tiny slices of bread
in the kitchen corner, eating from doll plates.
She couldn’t be prouder of our ecstasy
of denial, little letter-box lips refusing
all the sins of the tongue.
Easter bells rattled the glass,
Christ has risen, Alleluia.
The Resurrection with chocolate sauce
made us sick and giddy, pupils
rising in our irises, yours
the most divine Holy-Mary blue.
We held hands, spun around,
fizzy-headed, falling down.
Open the chocolate box, sister,
see liquor-centred grown-up sweets.
Pillows of sin, full
with seven deadly tastes,
a menu read to us on waking.
In the Ordinary Time of your dark kitchen,
we drop tissuey tea bags into boiled water.
Rust whispers to transparency.
bleeding into molecules,
Nuala Ní Chonchúir: ‘I think about my 30th birthday. That was the day I had my first miscarriage – I bled out my honeymoon baby. I had my seventh pregnancy and fourth miscarriage last year at 45’
In the worst hour of the worst season
of the worst year of a whole people
a men set out from the workhouse with his wife …
They bring us crushed fingers,
mend it, doctor.
They bring burnt-out eyes,
hounded owls of hearts,
they bring a hundred white bodies,
a hundred red bodies,
a hundred black bodies,
mend it, doctor,
As reprinted and discussed in the Guardian >>>