I Am Not A Statue

“And the red-breasted robin beats his wings
His throat it trembles when he sings
For he is helpless before you”

Nick Cave – Breathless
I can’t believe that I am this many years old and only this week realised that most, if not all of the Greek and Roman marble statues had removeable heads. I naively thought that they’d all been carved out of single blocks of marble. I’ve wandered in awe around Winged Victory of Samothrace and Psyche &Cupid in the Louvre and Hermitage, and marvelled at their grace, beauty ,and peachy marble butts and never noticed that they were constructed like mannequins, with detachable hands, arms, legs, feet, and heads. I think their peachy marble butts are permanent.

It makes sense when I think about it a bit more. Noses, fingers, wings, and toes are all delicate and are prone to being broken, accidently and, or, maliciously. Incidentally when Elliott was christened in Threemilehouse his godfather, Micky, casually leant against a shocking Holy statue of Jesus and broke off his left big toe, looked embarrassed for a moment and then surreptitiously put it back on top of the other toes and moved away. You know sometimes you think a figure’s eyes in a painting seem to follow you around the room ? Ever since Elliott’s christening I can feel a glare from that nine toed , shocking Holy  statue , and  one sunny  Sunday , during a particularly loooong homily , I daydreamed that every time I closed my eyes that statue had moved closer to me, like the Weeping Angels in Dr.Who, until it was right beside me holding my left shoe in one hand and a meat clever in the other, I closed my eyes for the last time and the statue whispered to me  “A big toe for a big toe ! It’s Old Testament time Baby !”.

 So I can appreciate that it’s simpler to replace one of those pieces rather than carve a whole new statue. In the days of the Roman Empire, it was easier to send out new heads of the latest Emperor to every outpost rather than whole statues.

At times I’ve thought it would be great to be a statue, impervious to insults, worshipped, glorified, possessing a peachy marble butt. But statues have no senses, no emotions.

I’d miss senses.

Seeing the sunset out the back of Lisbane from the window halfway up our stairs.

Hearing the crowd and the band upstairs in McKennas, the Iveagh Gardens, Croke Park, the Olympia. Radiohead, Bowie, R.E.M., Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Neil Young, Fontaines D.C., Public Service Broadcasting, Courtney Barnett, Gorillaz, Depeche Mode…

Tasting a freshly picked raspberry from Scotstown, in Scotstown.

Smelling the wild garlic in Rossmore Park.

A hug from your children, especially the rarer ones from them as they get older. And , when you’re doing nothing more exciting than sitting on the couch on a Sunday evening watching Umbrella Academy and your Soulmate simply reaches over and  holds your hand.

Emotions though.

I think my emotions are so strong that even if I was a statue I’d still break out in a smile, or cry.
I am not ashamed to say that I cry at the drop of a hat.

Every single time I see Jungle Book and Baloo lies immobile after fighting Shere Khan ? I bawl.  
Titanic, cried in the cinema, and when the video came out.  

A Monster Calls ? Every single time.

Kate Bush’s ‘This Woman’s Work’ ? Every single time.

The stories on the radio the weekend John Hume passed away. Yep.

Walking around the Seamus Heaney exhibition and that ‘Noli Timere’ / Don’t Be Afraid mural by Maser at the end. Bawled.

I even cried while writing a story ‘I Knew Her As..’ years ago. It was published in an anthology and I was asked to read an excerpt from it at the book launch in that Dublin. I cried reading it.

You get the picture.

I smile the whole time I’m running and wave at everyone and say ‘Hi’. I’m a terrible runner, and am normally aching or short of breath, but still delighted to be out and about.

A year ago I was asked to give a talk in a local school to a bunch of 6 and 7 year olds about our Drumlin Giants, and they were so wonderful and enthusiastic about everything. Two of them waited until the end of class and gave me a hug. I don’t think I stopped smiling for a week afterwards.

We generally have one or two family dinners at the weekend and we sit and chat until midnight afterwards. I could power the village with the joy I get from that.

I have always detested cats. We now have two cats, Pasta and Tuna. Tuna is a very affectionate cat. Pasta stares at me and makes me make her poached eggs. I do not detest these two cats.

I get to live in the True Centre Of The Universe

Basically I can’t believe my luck.

If I was a statue I’d have the biggest grin, a large handkerchief , and a peachy marble butt.


P.S. Watch ‘A Monster Calls’

Author: paul

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