Most pictures and words from Anthony C Murphy

Thursday, 4 April 2013




On a forgotten street way out from the city centre is the last church of our county. Or the first for any visitor. It borders on the river and the pirates that live there. After that brown water there is fear for us, for we know the pirates but we do not know what they know, or how they became friends with fear. And after the fear are the unknown places which are so unknown that we do not fear them. And after that, then, maybe there is something else. And maybe that something else is also not fearful of us...

But before all that and back here on this street is the church of San Isidoro y San Leandro. It was a place of tradition and welcome for some. A place of hiding for others. Sanctuary they called it. Safety.

It is an old church of an older faith. The people who built it believed in things that I only call things because I do not know what they are or what they mean. No one goes to the church anymore but Father Matthieu still lives there in hope. Although he is not the only one.
Behind the broken wood shutters that cover the belfry of the brown and white church lives a family of birds.

So what? You say. Birds! Who cares where they live? What about the pirates? Yes, I can understand. When I was younger I too wanted to hear of pirates and musketeers and bandits and kings. But listen to my words that travel through the air to your ears, words not bound to earth or caught by sea. This is no ordinary tale of piratical men and their material treasures. Pah! We have heard of their lives and bloody deaths a thousand and one times! These birds… These birds are more than ordinary birds. Why?
Some say the birds are blessed. Some say they are fearless. Some say they have stardust and rainbows in their feathers, that they sparkle at night whilst owls are nearby. Some say they are just lucky or stupid. They say these things because nobody has ever seen the like of them before, not here and not now. They are unknown and they live. They are the starlings of San Isidoro…

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