By Eithne Hogan
And there it is.  That internal audible click. Where in all of the years of listening to and knowing the

words of a song or a poem in its intricacy [a_song’s_lyrics in this case] the internal audible click of

discovery processes previous interpretation into new envisioning. And a new understanding is born. 

I was driving home from work on my usual stop-start journey, caught in and out of streaming and jerky

traffic and similar rambling thoughts, when in the background this classic 80’s song played out on the

radio.  TPau’s “China in Your Hand” always a winner to me no matter the mood to make me join in

with the full repertoire of its content and emotional input to add sway.  But this time, the audible click

changed things irrevocably. And the words so worn by time in my thinking bore a new interpretation

and in my newer resurrected consideration, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the dangers of pushing

a dream too far with unregulated and fiery determination and compulsion took form.

 I could feel the limbs joining in the words:
“Oh hands move and heart beat on

Now life will return in this electric storm

A prophecy for a fantasy

The curse of a vivid mind”

And I could palpably feel the imminent and prophetic warning:
“You don’t know what you might

Have set upon yourself

China in your hand”

And the new found focus to help me get home from the gridlock of repetition invigorated me to strike

up a series of questions. How did I not, singing that song since the 80’s ever twig that interpretation

or connection before?  What form or seed was stirring in my mind, seeking out in these moments for


associative connection?  How did my mind know that in this very moment this was the right time to

make new and emerging associations? Was there a seeming synchronicity awaiting?

And another urge arose that was most definitely not available in the 80’s which additionally struck a

chord and loudly lit the curiosity flame – the power of google_


Other thoughts of risings and resurrections have been increasingly on my mind for months now.  Other

thoughts of the danger of creation, the positives and negatives of dreaming and questions about the

boundaries of sanity and insanity, living and dying have been increasingly on my mind for months now.

In a world spilling over with examples of each, we do not suffer from shortage.  What with the 1916

centenary especially, these thoughts are relentlessly inescapable. Destruction and rebirth.  Death and

resurrection.  Survival and the living dead_  Terrible beauties_ Wherever you look and whatever you

read and listen to in these preceding months In Ireland have been speckled and interpolated and

inundated with narrative and content from that phenomenal transformative era in both the lead up

to, the events in and the aftermath of this major national transformation.  Our Irish senses have been

pickled, spiced and marinated in this fairly recent Irish history of paradox, liberation and war.  Needless

to say, with the coincidental occurrence of the 2016 general election; the urgency of some new

resolution, revolution or solution to the political and worldly ‘mess’ we are in has additionally met

avid and alert national expression; albeit diverse and differential with some anatomically limbed unity

in body parts, desires and cravings.  The majority of Irish people individually hold perceptions and

notions, visions and dreams of what they want and demand for a newly emerged and fresh faced

Ireland. But not all of these perceptions and narratives have equal force or even equal access to

national expression and far-reaching media exposure. Some voices still linger in the margins and spirit-

levelled ruled spaces of insider/out.  Or more figuratively speaking are deemed to be demonstrably:

out, out, out!

Bearing in mind as a nation and planet, we are so quick to condemn the hidden and suppressed and

submerged voices from history and show them modern retrospective respect and ‘timely’ illumination

and life, this current activity is almost contextually comic and parodic.  However, some among us, are

not so eager in their present tense benevolence or in their ‘now-ness’ sense of equity to offer life and

limb to contemporaneous perceived ‘radical’ expression in relation to the society we aspire to create

in 21st century upheaval. Ireland of course is not unique in this paradox of inclusion at a comfortable

distance.  This contradiction and paradox crushes heavy on the global conscience and connects

activities and energies of humanity per say.  There are energies and activities occurring globally

meriting the good old capital G and E of a medieval morality play.  Even nature is culpable if you choose

to use the language of wholesale law and man-made legality.  But in natural law, we cannot throw a

‘freedom of speech’ muzzle on the wind. Or tie down whirlwinds or tornadoes.

We are living quite equally in a vastly wanting and unequal world.  A world in which our nation seeks

guaranteed newness.  And where some participants and citizens will no longer settle for the great

unwashed of neo-liberal corruption and corporations who may attempt a Post-Easter rising or political

re-emergence flagged in outer dash red complete with a coating of sugary fiscal economic rebirth.

Unfortunately, we do not have a stamp or the placenta to illustrate that one! Too many citizens are

experiencing and perceiving contradictory realities versus the revisionist [in the present tense of the

word] spin and corporate spiel of remarkable and miraculous economic renewal.  The unwieldy pieces

of world finance and capital do not merge to any cohesive portrayal of credible holistic human form.

For many, the narratives have combined to become nothing more than a Frankenstein monstrous fish.

Where what lies beneath are the scaly mechanisms of regurgitated and repetitive untruths.  A fish

where no slippery parable will convince them of otherwise and the definitive equal sharing of the


loaves and fishes serves no reliable miracle cure.  In simple terms, the national creators of ‘the now’

need as political surgeons and theoretical practitioners to perform expert seamless surgery should

they desire to pull this national story together and make it fit the international or global dominant

narrative.  In some unwanted way, it already does.  The burdened creators of ‘the now’ sure have a

job on their hands to pull this particular anatomy together. In some degree, we are living in the bloated

Frankenstein fish of pulp fiction. And there are just too many fragments and not enough quick and

easy ‘fits’ to whip together no matter what coalition or adhesive is administered or applied.



So how do we as a nation overcome this crisis of creation?  The answers are also numerous and diverse

when considered in particular terms. So many isms and not enough ology’s.  We are all but one voice

in the scenario of all these living things.  With worthwhile attempts to move toward collectivism

among us, we need debate and discussion – nationally dialogic and all inclusive.  But care and scrutiny

are must needs in this critical venture. Cobbling together any old mix of interests in government

formation for example brings with it risks as well as opportunities.  And every mix can bring a different

set of consequences.  There is also the playing out of time.  Time watches itself tick as the second hand

moves.  As similar to sitting in stop-start traffic, people may get irritable and vexatious in wait for the

green and in fear or awe of the amber.  So acting in haste might also be the dominant strategy via

imposition.  But what I do suggest from my own tiny input is caution.  There are vulnerable and

tentative spill overs from the years of austerity and EU dictates.  There is so much national trauma in

process, through homelessness, eviction, emigration, poverty, suicide, marginalisation and exclusion

and so much more to add.  These stories of inequality, unfairness and societal imbalance are

undeniable actual realities.  Austerity, if continued, even by any other name will meet with the firm

counteraction of ‘dissent’ and disturbance mass mobilisation and protest.

There is no easy fix there for the architects.  For in Ireland and throughout the EU and beyond, the

relentless creation of a challenge to the dominant ideology has been forged and is pushing change.

And the push is mutual.  Because while the status quo is being successfully and forcibly challenged,

the dominant world view has shown visible fissures and cracks, and is forcibly and vehemently pushing

back.  And while the challenges to this dominance may be fragmented and scattered, with unifying

body parts and parallel mind-sets pitched in their internal battles; radical or absolute change is

inevitable. It is only a matter of time.  But common ground as to what we create out of this as a nation

ultimately depends on the will and the force and trajectory of that mutual push.  In order to avoid

another terrible beauty of utterly irretrievable and catastrophic or even latent damaging change, we

need vigilance.  And how far or to what extent the force of that push gravitates will be determined by

that vested and shared vigilance.  Since amidst all of this stark contention and its interplay, the

message of TPau and Mary Shelley will remain pertinent and resonant for all sides involved:







“Don’t push too far

Your dreams are china in your hand”


China in your hand.