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LITERATURE: The Good Night Kiss

Post 231 
The Good Night Kiss  Written byJohanna O’Mahony

The old man sits on the big leather armchair Sunken small shrivelled No longer unaided can function Angst and fear shine in his eyes
The colossus that worked from dawn to dusk Shovelled stone by day Piked hay by the evening light No longer strong in body But strong in mind Humour always his ally and love always his strength
I see the younger man Sitting on the sugan chair Waiting on the goodnight kiss Arms wrapped tight around his neck
Grandchildren now play at his feet A reminder of times gone before They await his kiss goodnight Not knowing there will be no more
Image: Pinterest 
About the Author Johanna is a wise soul who explores the creative art of poetry – an inner release of thoughts, emotions and words. 
Discover more on Ben Kesp, author and writer on the Ben Kesp Website. Discover how to Contribute on the Ben Kesp Website. Check out the Irish History & Myth Series at the Ben Kesp Website.
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Post 230 
Guest Post, written by Johnny Abraham The Blue Man 

I don’t want to sound crazy, that’s why I never talk about the time I saw the blue man, but I feel his story should be told. I will do my best, at any rate, to tell you what I perceived, thought and felt when I saw him there in the woods, clothed in an old tailored suit and surrounded by an orb of blue.
My parents used to live in rural West Virginia, in a house surrounded by woods. There I had seen rattlesnakes basking on sunlit rocks jetting out of the dark soil into the hilly, rugged woods. I had walked up on black bears bigger than me, had heard coyotes yelping. There was a spring-fed creek about a hundred yards back behind the house, down into the woods, where I would go to soothe my soul. There were boulders and caves, and I would go up to them to ponder.
It was on one of those walks which I saw a man, approaching from the ridge to my left, tracing a path through the woods down towards the creek on my right, which I assu…

HIST & MYTH: Lugh - God of Many Roles

Post 229. Written by Ben Kesp. 

Lugh is certainly a powerful deity in Irish mythology and has earned his name as the god of skill, talent and later became known more as the God of Light or Solar God similar to the Greco-Roman God Apollo. Storm God is another of his roles and it’s often mentioned in Ireland in County Mayo that during a thunder storm, Lugh and his grandfather Balor are battling in the skies overhead. 
The tale of his birth tells us that his mother Ethlinn was imprisoned in a tower on Tory Island off the north coast of Ireland by her father Balor, ruler of the mighty Fomorians, a race of giants and enemies to the Tuatha Dé Danann (Irish Gods). His reasons for doing this act was so that his daughter would never lay eyes on a man, as Balor feared a druid's prophesy that one day his grandson would kill him. However Cian, the son of Dian Cécht, God of Healingand Health of the Danann, heard of the trapped princess, and with the help of Biróg, a fairy woman, she transports …

CULTURE: Tarragona's Roman Amphitheatre

Post 228. Written by Ben Kesp. 

Located in Tarragona, the beautiful old port city in the northeast of Spain or Tarraco as it was formally known during the Roman period, sits a Roman amphitheatre. The oval shaped amphitheatre was constructed in the 2nd century and could accommodate up to 15,000 spectators in addition to its position offering magnificent views overlooking the Mediterranean Sea
But the history of the amphitheatre was not only for sport. During the persecution of Christians in 2nd/3rd centuries, the Emperor Valerian had the city’s bishop, Fructuosus and his two deacons burned alive within the grounds of the site. 
Unusual for a site like this, you can also find the remains of a 6th century Visigoth Basilica, built following the rise of Christianity when the site was left abandoned. The site was abandoned again following the Islamic invasion of Spain until the 12th century which followed with the construction of the mediaeval Santa Maria del Miracle or Our Lady of Miracl…

HIST & MYTH: The Dagda - Father God Figure

Post 227. Written by Ben Kesp. 

Of all the Irish deities making up the pantheon of gods, the Dagda is seen as the most powerful and omnicompetent, unlike his counterparts who are often limited in their abilities.
What I found interesting on my research of the Dagda is his role when it came to the introduction of Christianity. Ireland’s culture and belief systems have been very insular due to its isolation from mainland Europe and its strong ties with its former pagan culture. The development of the Irish church intertwined and fused the old pagan beliefs into the new religion with many crossovers with the gods of old. It appears to have been easier to Christianise and bestow saint hood on former gods than to have them removed altogether. All of the old pagan customs and rituals were based on earth’s seasonal cycles of the year and each is attributed to a related god, so as the seasons impacted the people, so did the god. 
The pagan Irish gods of old came from the “Otherworld” however …

CULTURE: Meteora - Monasteries on Rock Pillars

Post 226. Written by Ben Kesp. 

The first thing that struck me on sighting the Greek monasteries perched high on the Meteora rock pillars was the sheer height and extremes that the builders of these beautiful monasteries went to. It was pure dedication and devotion to God along with the isolation of the mountain tops that offered a spiritual and mystical sanctuary. 
Meteora which means “the middle of the sky” is a formation of massive monolithic pillars which I believe can only be truly enjoyed from the monasteries themselves. On reaching the beautiful buildings resting peacefully on their lofty platforms, the view is impressive beyond words. Casting my eyes over the serene beauty of the Greek landscape spreading out before me, it is easy to understand the attraction for the monks, bringing them one step closer to God. 
The rocks reach a height of 1,200 ft (400m) and where there was once twenty-four Eastern Orthodox monasteries, now sits six, mostly dating from the 14th to 16th centur…

CULTURE: Montmartre - Bohemian District of Paris

Post 225 
Guest Post by MikeH
In 2006 I had a wonderful experience that left me with an everlasting memory. This fond moment occurred in Montmartre, in the north of the city of Paris. The place itself added to the moment because of its charm and bohemian character. To this day, Montmartre holds its distinct individual character despite having been swallowed by the city. As you wander around its hilly streets, it makes you believe that you are walking around a country village! 
On visiting Paris recently, I had the great opportunity to revisit this charming district, exploring it in more detail and I realized this is a world apart from the rest of the city! Montmartre has captivated Bohemian artists since the Belle Époque (Period of Western European History) and continues to delight tourists today. The whole area has a unique ambience. Joie de vivre is everywhere: merry-go-rounds, quaint sidewalk cafés, and impromptu street performances. Not only is it a touristic area, it has also been…