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dedalus

traditions (edit)

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dedalus

IrelandPasture.jpg

 

A hidden ancient passage

under these tufts of uneven pasture

leads to a stone-lined tunnel,

uncovered, not by scholars,

but by the local IRA

intent on hiding weapons.

 

Traps for indigent robbers

have been worn away by decay,

and in the core of the inner sanctum

three large and separate open graves,

lie carefully, reverently surrounded

by treasure and homely objects:

 

combs and knives,

little personal tools,

for even kings need things

in the Other World.

 

Under rain sodden fields above,

the generations of philosophic cattle,

and hidden for more than a thousand years:

this golden torc, jewellery, six crumbling swords,

seven exquisite little silver drinking cups

of meticulous execution, shoved off

to the side now by rifles.

 

-----------------------------------

(original)

 

This hidden ancient passage

under the tufts of uneven pasture

reveals a stone-lined tunnel

discovered, not by scholars,

but by the local IRA

intent on hiding weapons.

 

Traps for indigent robbers

have been worn away by decay,

and in the core of the inner sanctum

lie three large and separate open graves,

carefully, reverently surrounded

by treasure and homely objects.

 

Combs and knives,

little personal tools:

even kings need things

in the Other World.

 

Under the rain drenched fields above,

grazed by generations of large-eyed cows,

lies hidden for more than a thousand years

a golden torc, jewellery, six crumbling swords,

and seven exquisite little silver drinking cups

of meticulous execution, shoved away

to the side now for modern rifles.

Edited by dedalus

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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tonyv

I was about to ask what the finders did with the treasure ... Shoved away to the side??? I would have thought they would have seen it as useful to the cause.

 

Interesting write as always, Brendan. Thanks for including the picture, too.

 

Tony

 

PS -- I recently watched a horror movie, called "Plague Town," and it's set in Ireland. It's about an American family and an Englishman on vacation there and what happens to them.:icon_eek: You might like it!


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Tinker

Hi Brendan, I thought this poem fascinating. The photo adds to this astonishing find whether real or fictional. It looks and sounds very real and I wanted to touch the little silver drinking cups. How cool is that if local IRA soldiers did stumble on such a treasure... Of course they couldn't report it or their cache of arms would also be discovered. Maybe they could smuggle some items out for sale but who would want to sell such wonders. Things like that belong in a museum to be shared with others. I love antiquities and my mind starts racing into the past trying to imagine the people who drank from the small cups. I love this poem that shares such items through your lyrical words.

 

~~Tink


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Benjamin

An intriguing piece which highlights how differently we seem to view the distant past and the recent past. The former with a certain reverence and wonder; the latter perhaps with a sadness and inevitability that reflects constant human conflict. The wealth and opulence of the cache was probably wrung from a jubjugated people, although distance in time tends to romanticise many such things. Much enjoyed. Benjamin.

Edited by Benjamin

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dedalus
I was about to ask what the finders did with the treasure ... Shoved away to the side??? I would have thought they would have seen it as useful to the cause.

 

Well, yes, that thought did cross my mind. The IRA, never mind what the (Brit-fed) world press may have said about them were a pretty strictly disciplined civilian force unlike the equally politically inflamed but ... emm ... undisciplined and half-criminal Loyalist paramilitaries! It was ... well, it was what it was! I don't think the lads who discovered the tomb would have kicked the treasures aside (after all, it was a confirmation of the Gaelic identity they were ultimately fighting for) but it would have been a bad move to bring these finds to light. Questions of origin would inevitably arise and the whole point was to keep the location secret. I imagine the find would have been catalogued by the battalion Intelligence Officer and reverently set -- not shoved -- aside, probably sealed in a place close to where they were found. Archaeologists, naturally, would have had fits but in time of war what else can you do?

 

Ireland because of its soggy bogs and (in my own opinion) love of surprises continually brings evidences of the long ago Celtic past to light in the form of hidden graves and hidden treasures. Half of the evidence of our history still lies somewhere underground: this is what I was thinking of when I wrote the poem.

 

Slán anois,

Brendan


Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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waxwings

Charming and nicely told tale. With a bit of effort could be made into a mini-epic poem. As is, needs editing.

 

Is this a myth/history? Is the proximate location known? I have read that part of the ancient inhabitants came from somewhere else. Were they the Celts, did they blend in w/ the Celts and/or, if Iam mistaken, did the Celts live there since time immemorial?

 

I don't think all the media are Brit-fed. Impartial journalists/reporters etc. have spoken to the factions. I, a bloody foreigner who lived inthe area was once invited to talk (in the last class) to seniors majoring in history about the Bosnian set-to. A church college, the expectation was I would point out the religious/nationalistic factors. Much to their surprise I pointed to the fact that it was more about which sect/ethinic minority owned the better more fertile, more tillable ground. Brothers everywhere foughjt over inheritance! And that is still going on, even in my own homeland, about which I am deeply ashamed, for each faction claims to be more patriotic than the other.

 

I would welcome your views/clarification.

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dedalus

Yep. Outside the cities (and what do they know?) it was all about claims on the land by clans or family groups with ancestral memories, esp. in South Armagh and other border areas. The modern slogans were just window-dressing for land struggles that had been simmering for the last 400 years. Protestant families were forced off their farms after generations (well, the land had been confiscated back in the 1600s) and The Brits couldn't use road convoys but had to supply their outposts by helicopter.


Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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waxwings
Yep. Outside the cities (and what do they know?) it was all about claims on the land by clans or family groups with ancestral memories, esp. in South Armagh and other border areas. The modern slogans were just window-dressing for land struggles that had been simmering for the last 400 years. Protestant families were forced off their farms after generations (well, the land had been confiscated back in the 1600s) and The Brits couldn't use road convoys but had to supply their outposts by helicopter.

 

Thanks, Brendan, for colluding on the nature of 'feuds'. But what about the muth vs history. And the Celts. I could google but rather have your say.

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dedalus

Hiya Waxy,

 

It's territory ... territory and territory. Back in the ancient days before we got invaded, first, by the Vikings who got driven off (some settled in and are still with us -- the McLoughlins, for example, Mac Lochlainn: sons of the northern invaders, and the Doyles ("dubh gaill: dark foreigners); and they did us the courtesy of founding the city of Dublin in the 9th century); second, by the Normans in 1167 who never completed the conquest as they had in England after 1066 and subsequently carved out little baronies and dotted the country with a load of smallish stone castles (some great ones) which can still be seen, often in ruins, in fields here and there offering a refuge to wet cows. From the late 1200s to the early 1400s the Normans intermarried with the Gaelic aristocracy, stopped speaking French (they never spoke English), and became as the phrase went, "more Irish than the Irish". Many of the totally integrated families of Ireland today are of Norman ancestry: the Fitzgeralds, the Fitzwilliams, the Fitzmaurices (anything, in fact, with a Fitz), the Barrys, the Joyces, the Prendergasts, the Molineaux, the Comerfords, anything that doesn't have a Mac or an O in the Gaelic version of later anglicized names: my own surname -- actually a clan name -- is O Laighin which has been rendered in English as Lyons. Third, and most disastrously, we had the post-Reformation Tudor re-invasion of Ireland from the early 1500s on (they were worried about Ireland being used as a Back Door by Catholic Spain or France) which offered no hope of integration thanks to the religious divide and became a war of extermination thanks to the beginnings of England's early colonial attempts in America. The Gaelic Irish because of their outlandish customs, dating in many ways back to the Celts of pre-Christian Europe during the Roman period, were classified as "savages" on a par with American Indians. Hugh O'Neill (a particularly interesting historical figure) stood up to them and nearly defeated the English armies during the Nine Years' War (1594-1603) but was ultimately brought down at the Battle of Kinsale when he rushed to the aid of his Spanish allies who had inexplicably landed at the other end of the country.

 

The story goes on in fascinating detail and leads right up to the present day. The bottom line is that the Irish never felt any affinity with the English and did everything they could to avoid getting sucked into their expanding "British" empire. The land was conquered and subjugated during the course of the 1600s and the local people were deprived of all social and political rights under the Penal Laws ( a model for Hitler's decrees against the Jews in 1935) and driven into poverty during the 1700s, culminating in a Great Rebellion in 1798 coming in the wake of the American and French revolutions. There had been no central political rule in Ireland (apart from a nominal High King, the first among equals) and every little territory jostled against its neighbours much as the Greeks had done in the ancient world. The Tudors and their successors came in like the Romans and the idea of a centralized Irish nation only took hold as a response to the loss of all local independence. The story of the 19th century has two strands, one parliamentary (arguing England into giving us Home Rule) and the other violent (the Fenian Brotherhood and what we would now call terrorist actions). The two strands came together in the 1916 Easter Rebellion which led on to the 1919-21 War of Independence.

 

I have some articles on the Blog which go into more detail and I'd be happy to supply you with the links. What I have written above is little more than an overview and it has already gone on at some length!! The full story reads more like a novel than a dry recounting of this and that event leading on to such-and-such a result because of the colourful and quite amazing characters involved and the strange and improbable things that occurred. The Irish are well-known for being able to tell a good story, but with a history like ours no artistry or invention or special effects are called for: all one has to do is sit back and simply recount what actually happened!

 

Bests,

Brendan

Edited by dedalus

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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waxwings
Hiya Waxy,

 

I have some articles on the Blog which go into more detail and I'd be happy to supply you with the links. What I have written above is little more than an overview and it has already gone on at some length!! The full story reads more like a novel than a dry recounting of this and that event leading on to such-and-such a result because of the colourful and quite amazing characters involved and the strange and improbable things that occurred. The Irish are well-known for being able to tell a good story, but with a history like ours no artistry or invention or special effects are called for: all one has to do is sit back and simply recount what actually happened!

 

Bests,

Brendan

 

Thanks, Brendan. Yes, do supply the links, via a PM if possible. Fascinating though our histories are, be nicer to other members to keep it off poem pages.

 

Archeologically, my people lived around my home town Riga since ca. 2000 BC and had their own set of woes.

 

Teach me a few, or so, Irish words. waxy

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dedalus
Thanks, Brendan. Yes, do supply the links, via a PM if possible. Fascinating though our histories are, be nicer to other members to keep it off poem pages.

 

OK, will do.

A few words in Irish??

Ní aois a thabhairt laige (age does not bring weakness) ...

Ní aois a thabhairt eagna ceachtar (age does not bring wisdom either!)

;) Brendan


Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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