Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Éireann go Brách

'I am of Ireland,

And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,' cried she.
'Come out of charity,
Come dance with me in Ireland.'

One man, one man alone
In that outlandish gear,
One solitary man
Of all that rambled there
Had turned his stately head.
That is a long way off,
And time runs on,' he said,
'And the night grows rough.'

'I am of Ireland,
And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,' cried she.
'Come out of charity
And dance with me in Ireland.'

'The fiddlers are all thumbs,
Or the fiddle-string accursed,
The drums and the kettledrums
And the trumpets all are burst,
And the trombone,' cried he,
'The trumpet and trombone,'
And cocked a malicious eye,
'But time runs on, runs on.'

I am of Ireland,
And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,' cried she.
"Come out of charity
And dance with me in Ireland.'

William Butler Yeats



So, let me ask one simple question...

How do you go from poetry like this to the current Irish "poetry" of Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity?

I am protesting St. Patricks Day this year until the Irish reclaim their heritage and run those three out of the country...

rockync said...

They're probably protestants.

Arthurstone said...

I'm not Irish.

And the St. Patrick's Day celebrations here in Seattle tend to run from the merely banal to the wildly drunken.

But I'm keen on Irish writers.

In the past year I've read a lot of John Banville and J.G. Farrell who, though born in Liverpool, is of Irish parentage and lived in that country until his death.

I'm no Joycean. I have never been able to read Joyce. My noggin isn't ready to absorb that yet. But I keep trying.

My favorite is Flann O'Brien (Brian O'Nolan) and I recently re-read The Dalkey Archive, At-Swim Two Birds and The Third Policeman, one of the funniest novels I've ever read.

Here are a couple tasty morsels:

"'The gross and net result of it is that people who spent most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles over the rocky roadsteads of this parish get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycle as a result of the interchanging of the atoms of each of them and you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who are nearly half people and half bicycles...when a man lets things go so far that he is more than half a bicycle, you will not see him so much because he spends a lot of his time leaning with one elbow on walls or standing propped by one foot at kerbstones.'"

Another from the same work:

"Your talk," I said, "is surely the handiwork of wisdom because not one word of it do I understand."

One more. This from "The Dalkey Archive', O'Brians final 'novel'.

"Descartes spent far too much time in bed subject to the persistent hallucination that he was thinking. You are not free from a similar disorder."


Shaw Kenawe said...


Flann O'Brien is my favorite! The Dalkey Archive probably my favorite, but it's hard to pick a favorite, having read The Third Policeman, and At-Swim Two Birds.

I don't remember which book it was from but there was a character DeSelby--Dalky Archive? who would not open his windows at night for fear of letting in the insalubrious black air. He also was so preoccupied with his imaginings that he had a difficult time telling men from women, and so he used to refer to his mother as "that fine old gentleman." :)

I've read John Banville's, The Sea. I was also a fan of JP Donleavy--not born in Ireland, but moved there. I highly recommend The Onion Man.

Edna O'Brien is another great Irish writer.

I live in Boston's Italian District, the North End, which at one point in its long history was an Irish enclave--Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in a house not far from where I live.

Even though this neighborhood is known for its many Italian restaurants, I saw a lot of green around here today. The neighborhood does have one Irish pub, Goody Glover's. She's an historical figure. The first person to have been hanged on Boston Common for being a witch. She spoke Gaelic at her "trial" and that sealed her fate, since it was seen as speaking devil talk.

I don't have any Irish in me either, but a lot of my relatives are married to Irish-Americans. In fact, half my family is Irish through marriage, hence my post. Not untypical for Boston marriages.

For my money, they're the best writers and story tellers--at least tied with the Russians.

Italians can write operas like no one else, la cucina e' favoloso, and they make very fine clothing, jewelry, handbags, and shoes.

Arthurstone said...

De Selby is the mad scientist-philosopher in The Third Policeman.

There is a marvelous biography of O'Brien by Anthony Cronin entitled 'No Laughing Matter- The Life and Times of Flann O'Brian'.

Heartbreaking. And highly recommended.

Arthurstone said...

Also, JG Farrell.

His 'Empire Trilogy', 'Siege of Krishnapur', 'Troubles' and 'Singapore Grip', is a remarkable achievement. Three glimpses of the British Empire in crisis (Siege...) and ultimate decline (Troubles and Singapore).

I hope someone as good as Farrell describes the winding down of the American empire for future readers.

Oso said...

You guys ever heard of the St Patricks Day Battalion? I put up a link to a story about them I wrote last year at madmikes.Trying to embed a link but failed miserably:

Oso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shaw Kenawe said...

Great story Oso. Thanks for linking to it. Has a movie ever been made about this? I wonder...

Oso said...

I'd heard there was, had to look it up. Called One Mans Hero with Tom Berenger.

Someone should do a remake with either Truth or Tao in the starring role.

Pamela D. Hart said...

Shaw: Happy St. Patrick's Day.

I'm Irish. I haven't visited the
Country yet, but my parents have and they said it was just beautiful.

I love the history, the music and the folklore.

Thanks for the post. I do belive you and Arthurstone gave me a list of books to buy!

Arthurstone said...

Finished St. Patrick's Day by watching 'The Dead'. Finally out on DVD. Beautiful film based by John Houston on a short story from Joyce's 'The Dubliners'.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Saw it years ago. Angelica Huston was terrific in it.

I should get it and see it again.

I remember how much I enjoyed it.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Didn't know you had the Irish in you, Pam.

Hope you had a happy day.