Uniquely Irish, The Shamrock
Never want to sound terse
nothing could be any worse
so I'll try to write a clever verse.
Of shamrock's I will carp,
may sound a bit too sharp,
not like sweet music on the harp.
In distant Ireland of all places,
they cover most of the bases,
even the art of shaving faces.
~~ Judi Van Gorder
Seamrog, (Gaelic) shamrock, with its 3 leaves is said to represent not only the Holy Trinity, but also (the fruits of the spirit, faith, hope and charity), (love, valor and wit), (past, present and future) and uniquely Irish, (clever verse, music on the harp, and the art of shaving faces).
Happy St. Patrick's Day. Today everyone is Irish, I already have the corned beef simmering. I've been reading poems by Irish poets lately and I thought I'd share a few in honor of the day.
The Irish have a rich poetic tradition, beginning with the oral disciplines of the Celts. When Gaelic replaced the Celtic language, it added a musicality and the lyrical rhythm that is distinctly Irish. When one thinks of Irish poetry one of the first poems to come to mind is The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats. One of my favorites is the more contemporary Irish poet Seamus Heaney. So in celebration of the day I will simply share some poems by Irish poet’s beginning with one our own members, the Irishman transplanted to Japan, Brendan aka Daedalus.
On the Hill of Howth
High on the Hill of Howth,
abreast with the smacking winds,I thought how I loved this country,
and knew I could not stay.
Ireland is small, reduced,alive with its fierce and miniature dramas,
sucking out one’s spirit and blood,
returning songs and poetry, little else.
Life will return with action,with movement across fields and prairies,
in the adoption of smiling moments,
the conquest of cities and towns.
Life is only fulfilled abroad,in the clamour of the streets,
in heroic deeds at lonely outposts,
with the fatal squeeze on city councils.
We are everywhere,
in the manner of musical locusts,
I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o'clock our neighbours drove me home.
In the porch I met my father crying—
He had always taken funerals in his stride—
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.
The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand
And tell me they were 'sorry for my trouble'.
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand
In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.
Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,
Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four-foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.
A four-foot box, a foot for every year.
On Raglan Road
Of course when thinking of Irish poetry, how can I ignore the Limerick, so very Irish. Did you know the frame can be traced back to St Thomas Aquinas (Italy 1225-1274) in Latin. It is speculated that it is really an old French form brought to the town of Limerick Ireland by returning veterans of the French War in 1702, and It was English poets that made the form famous. But Latin, French or English, does not change the fact, the lyrical, humorous, sometimes down right raunchy, Limerick is Irish to its core.
There was a young man from Savannah
Who died in a curious manner:
He whittled a hole
In a telephone pole
And electrified his banana.
A flea and a fly in a flue
Were imprisoned, so what could they do?
Said the fly, "let us flee!"
"Let us fly!" said the flea.
So they flew through a flaw in the flue.
There was a young lady named Bright
who traveled much faster than light.
She set out one day
in a relative way,
and came back the previous night.
Earlier I mentioned Yeats and his famous The Lake Isle of Innisfree. He is the most popular of all Irish poets and for good reason. I'll end here with a couple more of his poems.
When You are Old
The Cold Heaven
Down by the Salley Gardens
Down by the salley gardens
my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens
with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy,
as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish,
with her would not agree.
In a field by the river
my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder
she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy,
as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish,
and now am full of tears.
~~William Butler Yeats
Today be sure to wear some green, enjoy some corned beef and cabbage, raise a mug of beer and salute the Irish. And if you feel like scribbling a few words on a page, why not offer up your own Limerick for the day.
~~Tink aka Judi Van Gorder