Jump to content
Poetry Magnum Opus

A Visit Home


Recommended Posts

There’s something wrong in him,

you can see it in his eyes

although his talk is controlled and careful,

here in Bridgie Carney’s pub

with the black Clare night seeping in from outside

and the narrow road of the Hand

rising and sweeping down to the sea.


And over across is America,

three thousand miles of nothing

before you arrive at a further nothing,

replete with hope and broken promises,

where so many thousands of our people live

with slight imrovements

and the hearts of lonely beggars.


Seán Jimmy is singing a slan nois now,

a floating song that needs no music,

and the talk in the place subsides

except for the droning voice of your man

banging on about his cars and company,

and how happy he is to have made a new life,

unaware of, closed off, from the life around him.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

unaware of, closed off, from the life around him.


Yup, sums it up.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sums up what, then, exactly?


Actually, this is a fairly accurate rendition of things I have noticed with RYs (Returned Yanks) on my not infrequent visits to one or more of the many pubs we have around the champion city. In this one I'm off in the Wesht of Oirland, in Clare beside the ocean, in a real little place on a distant country road, hemmed in by a total absence of light and the blue pulsations of distant stars.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sums up what, then, exactly?



Closed off or disconnected, you are right. Reality TV, cultural paranoia, de-education, political demonizing: all these have fractured culture and will ultimately break/destroy us. It is only a matter of time; I do not think it will get better.


Now, I could not fill out a blank map of African nations, but I know Africa is a continent; some USA legislative candidates did not. It is now a badge of honor to ONLY know things that are American. USA! USA! USA! Your line about "cars and company" could have easily been "cars and guns".....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, dear ... afraid you could be right. Americans do seem to have this idea of exceptionalism, of being better, different, a cut above everywhere else. In some ways they are - I don't want Paco jumping out of woods at me with a tomahawk! - but an hour of so with a world statistics manual would rank them lower than a number of countries in certain specific areas. The Malaise of Modernity is not restricted to the US by any means but has taken hold in other places as well. Here in Japan we have a new Secrecy Act which could literally shut down the press and put ordinary citizens at risk for free and open discourse on the Internet. 82% of the people are opposed but

the govt couldn't give a toss and passed the Act with a large majority. The NY Times has a rather chilling article on the subject: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/16/opinion/japans-dangerous-anachronism.html?smid=fb-share&_r=1&

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes indeed. Lovely poem, as always. Its not just exceptionalism, it is also our wiping out of history and sense of place. We are a relatively young empire, and often are fed obvious lies as history. Someone who has been 'amercanized' can, and often does, undo his place in the world. It is hard to reconnect with a culture that goes back as far as the Irish whole culture, let alone the localized narratives of old county's with those who have lived or chosen to live there.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jumping out of the woods: I am not personally a patriot to a belief in 'exceptionalism,or especially 'manifest destiny'. I am a patriot to our Declaration of Independence,

and the Constitution of the United States. I believe they are both wonderful

instruments of philosophy and laws, both ideals to help us guide our lives. We polyglotAmericans, like every other society, have failed to live up to those ideals, because weare humans, not ideas. Every culture and belief system is constantly changing with

events and beliefs. None of us will ever live up to our ideals. Still, without our

instruments of idealism, what governs our morality? American history is just as rife

with injustice as almost any other nation's record. The Irish are somewhat unique in

never having been a united state, but faithful only to religion or regional pride. In

the U.S., their record, admirable at times, was almost always one of going with the

situational flow--as in the little war with Mexico--with never a thought to the oath

freely given to gain citizenship. Is Irish history superior to U.S. history? No, and

it's not worse; it just is. We are individuals and must accept responsibility for our

actions, actions which may be popular today and condemned tomorrow. Brings to mind the adage about casting stones in a glass house. Why the need to incessantly disparage a

society that is in constant flux? Do we fault the youth in harms way for the

dishonesty of our leaders? We have before, and will likely do so again and again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some very interesting comments above; although the poem itself for me, re-kindles words from an Eric Bogle song, "Going back to Dublin." The lyrics of many of Bogle's songs are significant and well worth a read.


"But Paddy sings a fading song

He knows he never can go home;

A stranger there and an exile here,

He lives somewhere in between.

And the Ireland of his heart's recall,

If it ever did exist at all,

Now only lives and wistfully moves

Through Paddy's dreams."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... in Clare beside the ocean, in a real little place on a distant country road, hemmed in by a total absence of light and the blue pulsations of distant stars.



A poem in itself, Brendan. Here is a picture, taken in Ireland, that I found online:




To me it embodies your words in this quote which I would love to see you incorporate into a poem.


As for the Irish, I've said before that I've tried to understand them. And though I've never met an Irishman from Ireland whom I didn't like, sadly many of the people of Irish descent I grew up amongst in Massachusetts seemed miserable to me, always as if there was a chip on their shoulders. There was a cliquishness I found distasteful. Not sure why that was there. Upbringing? Religion? Guilt? The answer for me was moving to a different county. I felt more at home amongst the Portugese and Italians, lol. Good poem and discussion that followed.



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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glad to see things spit, stall, and stumble off to a ragged start with the URS - usual ring of suspects - throwing out barbed opinions from the campfire circle. Three things appeal to me. The first is Paco's firm distinction between humans and ideas, in which I can imagine some little figure marching up to his kneecap and rapping out: "Excuse me, my name is So and So and I am a human, not an idea, got that"? The second is Benjamin's revelation of Eric Bogle's song lyrics. The stanza he quoted shut me up mid-sentence. And the third is Tony's photo of the night sky over Ireland. These are the bits that stuck.


With regard to Tony's comments on Irish-Americans, I know there was a debate going on in Ireland about that very topic not long ago. Irish Irelanders were/ are very thankful to the hyphenated crowd for their friendliness and support in finding them jobs and places to live in America, esp. along the East Coast, but found them very stubborn and difficult to deal with on nationalist topics, i.e Northern Ireland and relations with the Brits. 'They are literally generations out of date' was the general complaint. And then there was the anti-black discrimination thing, a nasty feature of Irish-America. Similar people, but not the same: divergent histories since the 1840s. But the Irish-Americans have been EXTREMELY helpful to new Irish immigrants.


Cheers, Bren

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.