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I was reading Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes one afternoon, enjoying the savage and mythic ferocity of the terrifying poems, which open the poet’s (...)

Once upon a time a bird passed a seed through its body and it fell to the ground, and got lodged in the soil and went to sleep. Then the following yea(...)

“I could have listened to Jeanette Winterson all day, but it was a very brief interview. So I got up and brushed my teeth.” Photograph: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty Images

Sometimes nobody calls for days. But you can’t complain if you live in the hills. We’re all isolated up here. I have neighbours scattered around th(...)

I have an app on my phone that can identify planes in the air and I have become familiar with various international flight paths that cross Leitrim

The Air Canada flight from London to Montreal goes over my garden at 3.30pm. The flight from Venice to New York and the flight from Amsterdam to Se(...)

Michael Harding at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Co Monaghan. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

I suppose it would take a therapist a few years to figure out my dreams, but mostly I find them healthy enough. Recently I dreamed of a bird nursin(...)

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Long ago, men in rural Ireland lived outside in fields, or in sheds or places where they could lean over gates and contemplate the nature of realit(...)

Michael Harding at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, Co Monaghan. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

There were two tractors, one red and one blue, and the drivers wore high-vis jackets. And even the man on the lawnmower, curling around the beech t(...)

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I was in a Cavan hotel last week for lunch. They always give me lots of gravy and beef. I was sitting at the window on my own, so that it was impos(...)

Michael Harding. Photograph: Brian Farrell

I met a woman on the flight to London.“I love flying,” she said. “I go over to visit my brothers every August.” We were lucky that no one sat in th(...)

‘I slept well at the Eccles Hotel, and dreamed of Mr Yeats and his big libido pacing the floor as he tried to compose lines of poetry’

I was heading for Dzogen Beara meditation centre in Co Cork for a few days’ rest, because I was getting too stressed in the fast lane in Cavan. But(...)