'Will You Taste Some Irishness?' II (2003)

Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2003 08:15 am
Your 'Taste of Irishness' For 3-16-2003:

'Remembering Carrigskeewaun'

A wintry night, the hearth inhales
And the chimney becomes a windpipe
Fluffy with soot and thistledown,
A voice-box recalling animals:
The leveret come of age, snipe
At an angle, then the porpoises'
Demonstration of meaningless smiles.
Home is a hollow between the waves,
A clump of nettles, feathery winds,
And memory no longer than a day
When the animals come back to me
From the townland of Carrigskeewaun,
From a page lit by the Milky Way.

For more on Michael Longley go to:


'Canal Bank Walk'

Leafy-with-love banks and the green waters of the canal
Pouring redemption for me, that I do
The will of God, wallow in the habitual, the banal,
Grow with nature again as before I grew.
The bright stick trapped, the breeze adding a third
Party to the couple kissing on an old seat,
And a bird gathering materials for the nest for the Word
Eloquently new and abandoned to its delirious beat.
O unworn world enrapture me, encapture me in a web
Of fabulous grass and eternal voices by a beech,
Feed the gaping need of my senses, give me ad lib
To pray unselfconsciously with overflowing speech
For this soul needs to be honoured with a new dress woven
From green and blue things and arguments that cannot be proven.
(Patrick Kavanagh)

For more on Patrick Kavanagh go to:
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Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2003 08:37 am

I am Irish on my mother's side and I have visited Ireland several times, beautiful land and a beautiful people with fire in their bellies and their mouths:

An Old Woman of the RoadsOf A Poet Patriot by Thomas McDonagh (1878-1916)

His songs were a little phrase
Of Eternal song,
Drowned in the harping of lays
More loud and long.
His deed was a single word,
Called out alone
In a night when no echo stirred
To laughter or moan.
But his songs new souls shall thrill,
The loud harps dumb,
And his deeds the echoes fill
When the dawn is come.
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Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2003 10:16 am

Hi! Thanks for your post and the two lovely poems. I hope you're enjoying this thread.

Stay tuned. I have a few more poems lined up for later today and for our final day tomorrow.

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Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2003 10:20 am

Ireland As Seen By Robert Emmett and Emily S. Kane
Photos from five trips to Ireland:


Additional Links With Photos of Ireland:

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Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2003 11:06 am
Thanks jjorge
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Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2003 01:06 pm
Well, it's Paddy's Day here! Not much happening at 6am, though!.

Happy St Patrick's Day, all.

jjorge - I really appreciate the work you've put into this. Some lovely stuff!

I tried to find some of the early Australian Irish poems, but couldn't remember enough of them to find online, and the book containing them is a 3-hour drive from here.
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Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2003 01:12 pm
I am not an Irish and not an expert on "Irishness", but I want to use this thread to congratulate all the A2K'ers of Irish origin with St. Patrick's day and to wish them all the best.
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Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2003 02:57 pm
Wow... it is already St. Patrick's Day in Oz! Happy St. Paddy's, are you wearing green, Margo?

I am drinking my coffee out of a small mug that says Royal Tara and hand crafted in Galway, Ireland. I love this mug, it is cream colored china with a garland of tiny shamrocks and some gold leaf points.

Do you think since I'm so Scottish in my genes that at least some of that blood must have originated in Ireland? I'm saying so! At least, I'm Irish enough to have loved this topic. Thank you, Jjorge.

(What's the Gaelic way of saying George?)
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Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2003 09:07 pm

Thanks for your kind words and thanks for your contributions to this thread. I'm glad you have enjoyed it. It has been a labor of love (notwithstanding my whining of a few days back).

In a way the preparing of this thread - reading the poems, finding the links - has been like putting myself through a mini-course on Irish poetry. It has left me wanting more, and, as a result, I have bought three new volumes already!

Thank you. All the best to you.


Funny . . . I don't know the Irish for George. It never occured to me to ask anyone. Now that you brought it up, I have to find out.

If you are Scottish in your genes you share a celtic heritage with the Irish. There's a NPR program on Saturday afternoons out of Boston called 'A Celtic Sojourn' with Brian O'Donovan. The music is from Ireland, Scotland, Cape Breton, etc. It's amazing how much in common the music has.

Thanks so much for your important contributions to this thread.


Stay tuned folks. There's more coming over the next twenty four hours.
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Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2003 09:14 pm
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Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2003 10:00 pm
I found this...

Geordie - (Gr) "farmer"; version of George. Seòras.
Seoras - (SHAW-russ) Scottish version of George, "farmer".

from: http://www.crosswinds.net/~daire/names/celtscotmale.html
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Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2003 03:02 am
I sometimes listen to a programme of Celtic music that comes out of Boston - which may be the one jjorge is talking about. I listen a bit on Sunday morning - for some wonderful music, so that probably makes Sat afternoon there.

It's on www.wumb.org

An't this new-fangled Internet thingy wunnerful - I can listen to some music from Boston, and tell you in WA about it!
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Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2003 06:13 am

Two poems For March 17 2003:

(more after 6:30pm when I get back home)

'The Well-Beloved'

To wake up and discover -
a splurge of chill water -
that she was but a forthright woman
on whom we had bestowed
(because of the crook of an elbow,
the swing of a breast or hip,
a glance half understood)
divinity or angelhood?

Raised by the fury of our need,
supplicating, lusting, grovelling
before the tall tree of Artemis,
the transfiguring bow of Diana,
the rooting vulva of Circe, or
the slim shape of a nymph,
luring, dancing, beckoning:
all her wild disguises!

And now she does not shine,
or ride, like the full moon,
gleam or glisten like cascades
of uncatchable, blinding water;
disturb like the owl's cry
by night, predatory, hovering;
marshlight, moonstone, or devil's daughter.
But conducts herself like any

Normal citizen, orderly or slattern,
giving us a piece of her mind,
pacifying or scolding children,
or, more determinedly, driving
or riding to her office, after
depositing the children in a crêche,
while she fulfills herself,
competing with the best.

Of course, she is probably saying
the same thing of us, as oisin,
our tall hero from fairyland,
descends or falls from the saddle
to dwindle into an irritable husband,
worn down by the quotidian,
unwilling to transform the night
with love's necessary shafts of light.

Except that when the old desires stir
- fish under weed-tangled waters -
will she remember that we once were
the strange ones who understood
that powers that coursed so furiously
through her witch blood, prepared
to stand bareheaded, open handed,
to recognise, worship, and obey:
to defy custom, redeem the ordinary,
with trembling heart, and obeisant knee
to kneel, prostrate ourselves again,
if necessary, before the lady?
(John Montague)


'A Lady of Quality'

In hospital where windows meet
With sunlight in a pleasing feat
Of airy architecture
My love has grapes and sweets to eat,
The air is like a laundered sheet,
The world's a varnished picture.

Books and flowers at her head
Make living-quarters of her bed
And give a certain style
To our pillow-chat, the nonsense said
To bless the room from present dread
Just for a brittle while.

For obvious reasons we ignore
The leaping season out-of-door,
Light lively as a ferret,
Woodland walks, a crocused shore,
The transcendental birds that soar
And tumble in high spirit

While under this hygienic ceiling
Where my love lies down for healing
Tiny terrors grow,
Reflected in a look, revealing
That her care is spent concealing
What, perhaps I know:

The ever-present crack in time
Forever sundering the lime-
Paths and the fragrant fountains,
Photographed last summer, from
The unknown memory we climb
To find in this year's mountains.

'Ended and done with' never ceases,
Constantly the heart releases
Wild geese to the past.
Look, how they circle poignant places,
Falling to sorrow's fowling-pieces
With soft plumage aghast.

We may regret, and must abide.
Grief, the hunter's fatal stride
Among the darkening hearts
Has gone too long on either side.
Our trophied love must now divide
Into its separate parts

And you go down with womankind
Who in her beauty has combined
And focused human hungers,
With country ladies who could wind
A nation's love-affair with mind
Around their little fingers,

And I communicate again
Recovered order to my pen
To find a further answer
As, having looked all night in vain,
A weary prince will sigh and then
Take a familiar dancer.

Now the window's turning dark
And ragged rooks across the park
Mix with the branches; all
The clocks about the building mark
The hour. The random is at work
On us: two petals fall,

A train lifts up a lonely cry...
Our fingertips together lie
Upon the counterpane.
It will be hard, it seems, and I
Would wish my heart to justify
What qualities remain.
(Thomas Kinsella)

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Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2003 10:39 am
Wow. Those two poems are full of stories, aren't they? I particularly like the first, but the second is so beautifully poignant.

Margo -- I love to hear Celtic music, maybe I can find this station, too... that would be an amazing digitzied and electronified marvel if we were all three listening to the same songs.

My daughter said one of the greatest things about the pubs in Dublin was the music seemed to be good everywhere!
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Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2003 06:45 pm
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Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2003 07:15 pm
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Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2003 07:52 pm
(Well, I had to look THIS one up!)

by Patrick Kavanagh

My soul was an old horse
Offered for sale in twenty fairs.
I offered him to the Church--the buyers
Were little men who feared his unusual airs.
One said: 'Let him remain unbid
In the wind and rain and hunger
Of sin and we will get him--
With the winkers thrown in--for nothing.'

Then the men of State looked at
What I'd brought for sale.
One minister, wondering if
Another horse-body would fit the tail
That he'd kept for sentiment-
The relic of his own soul--
Said, 'I will graze him in lieu of his labour.'
I lent him for a week or more
And he came back a hurdle of bones,
Starved, overworked, in despair.
I nursed him on the roadside grass
To shape him for another fair.

I lowered my price. I stood him where
The broken-winded, spavined stand
And crooked shopkeepers said that he
Might do a season on the land--
But not for high-paid work in towns.
He'd do a tinker, possibly.
I begged, 'O make some offer now,
A soul is a poor man's tragedy.
He'll draw your dungiest cart,' I said,
'Show you short cuts to Mass,
Teach weather lore, at night collect
Bad debts from poor men's grass.'
And they would not.

Where the
Tinkers quarrel I went down
With my horse, my soul.
I cried, 'Who will bid me half a crown?'
From their rowdy bargaining
Not one turned. 'Soul,' I prayed,
'I have hawked you through the world
Of Church and State and meanest trade.
But this evening, halter off,
Never again will it go on.
On the south side of ditches
There is grazing of the sun.
No more haggling with the world....'

As I said these words he grew
Wings upon his back. Now I may ride him
Every land my imagination knew.

Very Happy
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Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2003 09:29 pm
That's lovely Piffka. It makes me think of Kavanagh's quest for respect and recognition never-quite-realized in his lifetime - or so I understand.
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Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2003 09:44 pm

This concludes the planned postings on 'Will You Taste Some

I hope you have enjoyed your 'Taste'

The Parting Glass

O all the money that e'er I spent,
I spent it in good company
And all the harm that e'er I've done,
alas, it was to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit
to memory now I can't recall.
So fill to me the parting glass
good night, and joy be with you all.

O all the comrades that e'er I had
are sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e'er I had
would wish me one more day to stay.
But since it falls into my lot
that I should rise and you should not,
I'll gently rise and softly call,
goodnight, and joy be with you all. :wink:

(traditional Irish song. Sung at the end of the night or at the
end of an event)
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Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2003 10:40 pm
Thank you, Jjorge... "Seoras"... What a great song to end with! You've done a wonderful thing for all of us and created something we can come back to enjoy again and again. Plus you have learned so much I'm sure that you could teach a class in Irish Poetry or hold your own in an Irish Pub! Good on ya, mate!


Your friend,
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