Have you ever been to a place so breathtaking some emotional well-spring rises that makes it hurt to view it? I have—on the western coast of that little green rock known as Ireland, Erin, Eire, Rosaleen.
Many names to match her many qualities—terrifying and lovely, serene and turmoiled; a land peopled by warriors and druids, farmers and fishermen, commoners and kings. Then there are the Others—the Little People of folklore and legend, and the stones that have existed since before time began—they, too, have a story to tell.
From the cities of the North and East to the moonscape of the Burren stepping out to the Aran Islands in the West, Ireland is an island of voices – each yearning to be heard. Not to the exclusion of the others, but in addition to them—a joining of spirits across the ages.
And voices answer across the ocean, each heartbeat echoes the pounding surf, its depths as beyond reach as the past. For every coastal town that saw her children leave for a better life, for each field filled with the blood of her youth, there has been a homecoming. A few generations after many families left Ireland for the hope of a better life—or at least a life—her children are returning.
Gathering Stones will take you on a journey of Ireland’s past through her turbulent history and into her promising future. Gather stones of new memory as you read, a better vision of what she can become. Between wisps of fog and watery sun, blue peeks again and pinpricks of silver shimmer across the sea.
by KB Ballentine
About the Book
Stones are shaped over time . . . from the slow movement of ice fields to the fast flowing waters of rivers and streams. Gathering Stones is a trilogy through time. In A Time to Speak, KB introduces us to the folklore that first influenced her reading and fascination with Ireland.
The second section of Gathering Stones moves away from folklore to reality as KB poignantly explores the more unsettled periods of Irish history—the struggles for freedom, the Great Famine of the nineteenth century and its legacy in America, and the more recent Troubles in Northern Ireland. For millions in Ireland, it was A Time to Die.
The concluding segment focuses on the beauty of Ireland, the Ireland that most people think of—the forty shades of green, the coastal cliffs, the narrow twisting roads, the large stone castles, the islands off the west coast, the peat fires and pubs, and the friendliness of people who love nothing better than the return of a distant family member, even if it is only a “quick wee visit.” A Time to Dance celebrates KB’s triumphant journey of self-discovery to her ancestral home.
Praise for Gathering Stones
KB Ballentine has a deep and sure sense of Irish history and society. This sense is profound when coupled with her ability to blend time and space into spiritual understanding. A spiritual empathy permeates her poems of place—making one feel the abiding loss and sadness of Ireland’s past. Her empathy is the province of the true poet—a painter’s light touch; a poet’s vision.
— Jessie Lendennie
Editor/Publisher, Salmon Poetry Ltd., Co. Clare, Ireland
‘Though often silent, / the dead don’t lie when they speak,’ KB Ballentine tells us early in Gathering Stones. In these excellent poems the dead as well as the living are given their say, and one poet’s search for her ancestral home ripples out in time to become a vivid and haunting rendering of Ireland’s ‘terrible beauty.’
— Ron Rash, Raising the Dead