Leaving Cert English: Write a descriptive essay based on a variety of glimpsed moments

Write a descriptive essay based on a variety of glimpsed moments.


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In an instant the playful breeze had metamorphosed, blowing brisk and blustery. Ripples glanced off the banks of the softly lit water lily pond, beside which a lonely figure sat ensconced upon a large mahogany stool.

“Claude”, came the silvery but oddly tremulous voice of camille Monet. “We need to talk.” He haltingly lowered his brush and turned languidly to face his wife.

“This has gone too far”, she ventured, in a tone of carefully measured hostility. The green timber bridge creaked menacingly beneath her feet as she stepped towards her husband. Drawing in a long slow breath that mimicked the whispering of the surrounding willow trees, she uncovered a small painting that she had hidden behind her back.”Is this her?”, she questioned testily, her voice wavering maniacally. “You told me you would stop painting her! Have you seen her recently? Have you?! I knew it.” Pausing momentarily in hopeless expectation of a reply from her husband, she recomposed her posture, and began again. 

Write a descriptive essay based on a variety of glimpsed moments



“I do not understand how we hope to continue like this. You may be keeping a mistress, but how am I to know? Yet, here you sit before a blank canvas, staring listlessly at your precious water lilies. This cannot continue!” Her words gushed like paint exploding forcefully from a metal tube that had been placed under too much pressure. Her breathing becoming quicker, sharper as she finished, raising her quaking fingers to comb through her unkempt and lustreless hair. 

Monet exhaled with a long sigh of deep frustration, sick at the thought of reliving this constant battle of words. “How many times must I tell you!”, he exclaimed. “There is nothing for you to worry about! She is not in my life any more.”

Camille raised one thinly pencilled eyebrow, building skepticism upon her face. The face that bore the unique hallmarks of one who had recently plummeted from elegant beauty to a state of total despondency. Her skin had the feint greyish tinge of old porridge and there were soup stains down her blouse and a burn in her skirt. The hair which had once rippled down her back in elegant waves now hung lank and thin from her scalp. But the most definite and profound change could be seen upon her countenance. Although it still bore a fragmented reminiscence of aesthetic beauty, it was now pinched and careworn with the sordid lines of incessant worry.

Monet averted his eyes to the floor, as the impact of his wife’s words washed over him, reverberating through his brain. The change in her appearance hadn’t been sudden, and yet, he should have noticed, should have paid more attention to the woman he had once been so infatuated by, the very antithesis of the figure that now stood before him. But how could she have allowed those negative thoughts to bolster themselves, to accumulate inside of her? How had their relationship depreciated so rapidly, so radically? And what of Marie? Her most recent ultimatum still weighed upon his shoulders, its great heft suffocating him, crippling him. 

Monet’s state of etherising rumination was swiftly shattered, as a nervous rattling of breath behind him admonished him to his wife’s presence.

You’re not saying anything. Why aren't you saying anything?” Her voice had steadied itself, slowly rebuilding confidence. The sheer vehemence of this simple action induced Monet to turn back to his wife, although he still didn't meet her eyes.

“She wants me… She asked me…” His demeanour slumped with a visible sinking of his shoulders, finally allowing himself to say the words. “She told me I have to choose.” Still unable to meet his spouse’s eyes, he turned to face the pond, muted sounds of water and birds slowing to a standstill. “You or her.”

Expecting the strangled sob that he was accustomed to hearing from Camille Monet in times of distress, he was disquieted by the indefatigable silence that engulfed the scene. With an awkward rotation of his still slight body, he stole a rapid glance over his shoulder at his wife’s visibly reddening face.

leaving cert notes descriptive essay


He felt it before he saw it. In a single whiplike motion, Camille had abandoned her timorous stuttering, reached out, and administered a single caustic slap across his left cheek. An angry crimson welt had already begun to sprawl across the delicately lined skin. Struck dumb by this enigmatic change in his wife’s disposition, he could only watch as she reached forward viciously and seized his newest masterpiece from his easel. Lumbering slightly under the great heft but still managing to summon up a ferocious speed, she turned her back on the little pond and surged ardently to the little thatched cottage that was their home. 

No longer frozen by the protracted silence and finally ignited by the disappearance of Camille’s usually acquiescent nature, Monet hastened after his wife. Pebbles crunched gravely underfoot, mingled with the distressed breathing of a man, grievously unsure of what his wife would do next. His footsteps became slower, more protracted as he neared the entrance to the house. His face erupted in perspiration. What would he find inside? The atmosphere of the house shifted as he entered, as if the very timber frame that supported the cottage was in on this catatonic nightmare of his wife’s design. 

He didn't have to search far to find her. Standing there amid the burnished glow of a stack of bronze pots lit only by the dying embers of the kitchen fire, was Camille. Her left hand holding the large canvas depicting the lavish swirls of his abstract water lilies, her right hand resting a kitchen blade against the half finished masterpiece. Her hands were completely steady. It was only then, while staring into her husbands eyes, that she drew her hand in an arc-like motion across the heavy canvas. A heavy, pestilent sound echoed from the shredding fabric.

Impotent as he was in that moment, he could not control the bout of volcanic rage that suddenly encapsulated him. Lunging towards his wife, he began to flail his arms, wildly, desperately trying to reach any inch of skin, seized with desire to render her as much pain as she had just caused him. With both scorching ease and total serenity, Camille took one step to the left, allowing her husband to barrel headfirst into the wall behind her. 

"I’m done. We’re finished.” With nothing more to say than this concise closing statement, Camille exited the house, eluding her mercurial husband, and the frustrating life she had once led. The pond glistened like dark velvet strewn with sequins as Camille strode past; metamorphosis complete. A few light drops dripped down her neck, washing away all traces of her transient relationship. A few tendrils of mist had begun to form, hanging in the air like ghostly ribbons, but they proved no barrier to Camille. The rain, now decanting in heavy droplets sluiced through the air, causing turbulent ripples in the pond that had one lain so very very still.

Another essay for the same title via #625Lab. 

It's completely different in tone and approach. It's also very good, but it could do with a little bit more descriptive imagery.

Monday the 8th of February 2015, a day in which I will never forget. I was woken by a clumsy dog walking over my body while I lay there half asleep wanting to get under the covers on a cool crisp morning. Luckily for her, she got her way and lay under the duvets beside me. An hour went by before my mum called me to get up for the event that was about to take place, a home full of tears with a strange feeling taking over the house.

I got up and got dressed and brought my dog for a walk, looking at these houses along my road, watching people opening their blinds, running to their car, speeding down the road. I wondered if they had ever encountered something in which I was about to encounter later that same day. I walked and walked, deciding at every corner whether to go left or right, it started with right then a left and a left again. I enjoyed going on adventures and looking at things you don’t notice in your car. I watched this old man out cleaning his garden, whistling away to himself while his wife looked out the window at him admiringly. I felt hopeful about the day while watching these happy people go about their everyday lives.

When I arrived home my mum had her flask ready to go, my dad with his walking shoes and my older brother all wrapped up in his good but slightly scruffy clothes. We were ready to head off to the event in which all our lives would change. It had been so long since we had all been in the car together because of how our society is today, if you’re not sleeping, you are running around chasing your tail. We all lived such busy lifestyles between school, work, college and social lives that it had been a while that the 4 of us had been together for longer than a few hours. I glimpsed out the window looking at the same things I have looked at for the past 17 years, but something was different about it today. Perhaps it was the fact that there was roadworks going on but I was noticing different things, we had our family journey playlist beating out of the car speakers as we drove the same journey my parents had done for the past 30 odd years and I had done the past 17 years.

When arrived at our location, our holiday home just 20 minutes on from Brittas Bay, something was different. It was no longer a home, I had all these memories flashing in my head, all these glimpsed moments of my past. I stepped inside the dodgy door that you had to pull towards you, pull down the rusty handle then lift the door to finally open it. I stepped into the kitchen where my aunt had thought me how to make my now famous banoffee, where I broke my uncles prized possession aged six, but the cupboards were empty as well as the counter tops. I continued on into my old box room, blue walls with creaky floorboards that I knew how to dodge from the years going to bed the latest, I couldn’t help but think about those late night arguments I would have with my brother over his music playing to loud in his earphones or his snoring. All of them were quite petty now that I look back on it but I was giggling away to myself as these memories replayed in my head. I walked further on into our living room as I always did when I came into our house that had no top end or bottom end, my bedroom off the kitchen, a bedroom off the sitting room. I looked out the window and on that day the sun was shining so much you would’ve sworn you were in Lanzarote with the sight you could see out these salty windows. I looked down at the patch of brown grass where my brother and I pitched a tent as a dare one night only a few weeks back. I looked down at the beach and I remembered as a child running down as fast as I could, so I could build a sandcastle and play in the water. These glimpsed moments in which are fond memories of mine all brought a tear to my eye. 

3pm came quicker than I expected and before I knew It we had builders walking around the garden with equipment that seemed quite complicated, measuring the height and wind and all sorts of things. We were told to get out of the house and that’s when all these memories of childhood summers and cold winters came flooding into my head. I remember the smell of the old fire and how we had a brass engraved box which sat in the same place for an entire 17 years where these old newspapers dating back to 2003 would sit for the fire. The memories of getting out of the shower and having to walk through the sitting room in your towel regardless of who might’ve been there to get back to my bedroom, or how we had basins sitting on the window sills because of the bad winter. Myself and my family, my aunt and my uncle all stood back and watch builders as they began to plough through the front of the house. 

A house in which four generations had grown up in, a house which was steeped in memories and one in which we will always call home. The 8th of February will always be the day in which we demolished a million memories in order to create a million more. Tears were shed as we watched builder pull apart our unorganised quirky house that had been in the family since the 1950s. As I write this essay sitting in what would’ve been the bathroom in the old house, I remember our new memories like the first night in the house with no electricity going around with candles, the first shower and the water started to come through the ceiling. I glimpsed back on these seemingly irrelevant moments to other and laughed to myself on how much time has gone by. I know in 20 years I’ll be sitting in this very spot glimpsing back on my days like today where nothing significant happened but they had something funny to remember.

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