Friday, October 16, 2015

Update 16th October

To Autumn by John Keats.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinéd flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barréd clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

The present period of beautiful end of autumn weather prompted me to source again the great poem of the English Romantic poet John Keats (1795 -1821) applauding the Autumn season.   The work was composed in September 1819 and published in 1820. "To Autumn" is the final work in a group of poems known as Keats's "Odes".  The work marks the end of his poetic career, as he needed to earn money and could no longer devote himself to the lifestyle of a poet. A little over a year following the publication of "To Autumn", Keats died in Rome.

The poem has three eleven-line verses which describe a progression through the season, from the late maturing of the crops, to the harvest and to the last days of autumn when winter is approaching. The personification of Autumn, and the description of its bounty, its sights and sounds are rich in imagery something like a picture by one of the English landscape artists of the period. While some of the words and language are of their time the overall story is embracing.

The poem has been interpreted in various ways; 1. As a meditation on death;  2. As Keats's response to the Peterloo Massacre, which took place in the same year; and 3. As an expression of nationalist sentiment.

This poem is one of the most popular poems in English poetry collections. "To Autumn" has been regarded by critics as one of the most perfect short poems in the English language.

(Keats is always spoken of in parallel with Shelley 1792-1822 both being part of the group referred to as Romantic poets “Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought” and “O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

Shelley too died in Italy at the height of his powers).

Shakespeare also treated of Autumn in sonnet number 73

“That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang”.

While the present weather is such a surprising treat to us this is the type of climate that is experienced for a period in the Eastern New England States of the United States. There it is referred there as ‘The Fall’  depicting the fall of the leaves.

Ireland would be a really lovely country, seasonally without extremes, if we could have some reliability and less rain but I guess that is not in our gift. So enjoy this brief ‘Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness’.

Saddler’s Inn
Boyle Church of Ireland ‘Supper Social’ will be held in the Saddler’s Inn, Kingsland on this Friday the 16th. The music is by Sean Brennan with admission being €10.

President McAleese Collection
On this Friday evening also the president McAleese collection will officially go on display in King House as is flagged on

Grehan Sisters Award
It is nice to see the Grehan sisters being awarded with the Annie McNulty award on Thursday October the 22nd by the South Roscommon Singers Circle in Hannon’s Hotel, Roscommon. Donie O’Connor will be one of the guest singers on the night.

Dublin Train
On Wednesday I took the 11.33 train to Dublin. When it arrived at the platform in Boyle from Sligo I got a real surprise as it was covered for its full length, windows and all, by graffiti. It was done, in my quick viewing as I entered, in a pretty organised and I might even extend to ‘artistic’ way though I do not have any photographic record. When sitting in the train one could only see out the other side windows. One might have felt like Lenin who when allowed to pass through Germany to St. Petersburg  pre. 1917 did so on a sealed train.
I had tuned into The Late Late Show on Friday and heard Brent Pope, who I like, extolling the virtues of an art genre called ‘Outside Art’. The train could have been an example of that and could easily travel to exhibitions! Actually on that Late Late there were three examples of ‘Outside Art’ by people who had issues at one time or other in their lives which were very interesting especially a very large mural (perhaps)by a lady from Dundalk.
Also on the show was David Walsh talking about a film ‘The Program’ based on his book ‘Seven Deadly Sins My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong’. The ‘Program’ I presume is the performance enhancing drug program carried on by Lance Armstrong in the pursuit of cycling glory. Chris O’Dowd plays the part of David Walsh and I look forward to seeing it.  

The Humble Letter
My paragraphs on ‘The Humble Letter’ attracted some attention. A former student and friend Harry Keaney from the Riverstown area now working- apparently- with Ocean FM in Sligo brought it to the attention of the producers of Niall Delaney’s programme which called me to discuss the topic on Monday morning. Amongst the letters I did not get around to mentioning were a number of very encouraging notes from the author Brian Friel to the Glenties Drama Group as they were preparing to stage his play Dancing at Lughnasa. They were published just last Sunday in the letters page of the Sunday Independent. Harry was a diligent student at St. Mary’s College, spent some time in New York where he was awarded the Sligo person of the year. On returning to Sligo he did a stint with the Sligo Champion some years as Editor. So Harry if you trip across this warmest regards.  
  If anyone has letters of interest they could contact Nicky Dowd in Westport on or call her at 0044797413928. She would be most interested.    

Sports Review

A huge percentage of Irish eyes will be on Cardiff when Ireland take on Argentina in the Rugby World Cup Quarter Finals on Sunday next at 1 pm. (note). The courageous and well deserved win over France came at a huge cost with the injuries to Paul O’Connell and Peter O’Mahoney with collateral damage to Johnny Sexton and to fill in the hand the suspension of Sean O’Brien. It will really test the panel resources of the Irish squad. Certainly the substitutes Henderson and Madigan did exceptionally well against France. Apparently O’Connell roused the troops in the dressing room at half time. While now is not the time, but when this tournament is over there will certainly have to be huge study of the game of rugby in terms of injury numbers as it is reported that 33 players have had to retire due to injury by the end of the pool stages and with seven more matches to go who can predict the final number.

The Quarter Final fixtures are as follows:

Saturday 4 pm South Africa v Wales and at 8 pm New Zealand v France.
Sunday    1 pm (note) Ireland v Argentina at Cardiff and at 4 pm Australia v Scotland at Twickenham


Ireland were poor against Poland and getting into the qualifiers is about what they deserved. While the win against Germany was pretty heroic the Sunday performance was some dip not helped perhaps by the team selection and poor on-field performances. One must also credit that Poland have an outstanding player in Robert Lewandowski who scored an outstanding headed goal. Friday we should know who Ireland plays in the qualifiers. Eamon Dunphy was wearisome in his championing of Wes Holohan who it is suggested,  had oddly informed the manager that he might not start the second game. I think that the panel has had its day and a change is necessary.

Paul Healy, Editor of the Roscommon People wrote, in his diary column of the week, on Sunday’s soccer, as follows:
“Sunday/Monday. The soccer fans were beaming on Sunday evening in Roscommon town as they poured out of the pubs, waved their flags in celebration and beamed as motorists honked their horns.
It was no surprise that on Monday morning outside the local schools the soccer fans were still celebrating the big win on Sunday and automatic qualification for Euro 2016.
What a day it had been. The unfashionable soccer team had done it., had made it to France without any play-off. The final moments had been tense, but the soccer team had hung on and all over Roscommon, the fans were rightly celebrating.
Congratulations to the sizeable Polish community…”


2016 Connacht Championship Draw

Group One: Roscommon V New York (set by rota earlier)/ winners Ros.v New York v Leitrim/ winners of this trio v Sligo in Connacht semi-final.

Group Two: Mayo v London with winner v Galway.

Connacht Final Winner Group One v Winner Group Two.

From a Roscommon perspective it looks a good draw but remember Sligo this year.

While the county Hurling final replay is on Saturday the football final takes place on Sunday with Padraig Parse’s managed by Shane Curran playing Clan na Gael managed by Paul Curran. This is a hard game to call. Hopefully Pearse’s will win as they have not won a senior championship though being competitive at senior level for the past 60 years or so.  



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