Thursday, March 23, 2017

Update 23rd March

With regard for Mothers and Fathers.

A few years ago I wrote a piece ‘In Memory of My Father’ which I was comfortable with and it was well received. It prompted one lady to pen a poem, a tribute to her dad, as a birthday gift. A consequential tribute in itself.
I have thought from time to time to do likewise with a tribute to my mother and though my memories of her are vivid, my weak attempts always crumble. So since next Sunday is Mother’s Day I’ll copy to the View my two favourite tribute poems to the mother persona.

In Memory Of My Mother - Poem by Patrick Kavanagh

I do not think of you lying in the wet clay
Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see
You walking down a lane among the poplars
On your way to the station, or happily

Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday -
You meet me and you say:
'Don't forget to see about the cattle - '
Among your earthiest words the angels stray.

And I think of you walking along a headland
Of green oats in June,
So full of repose, so rich with life -
And I see us meeting at the end of a town

On a fair day by accident, after
The bargains are all made and we can walk
Together through the shops and stalls and markets
Free in the oriental streets of thought.

O you are not lying in the wet clay,
For it is a harvest evening now and we
Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight
And you smile up at us - eternally.
Patrick Kavanagh

‘When all the others were away at Mass’
[from Clearances in memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984]
by Seamus Heaney

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

Westminster Bridge, March 22nd 2017
Since I am referencing the power of poetry to express our deepest emotions, the events on Westminster Bridge reminded me of a tribute to the City of London by the great English poet William Wordsworth. That Bridge is a very visible icon on many media platforms. In my time in London, in the mid-sixties, I was often in that area and it was a good time. There are so many Irish people who have walked across that bridge as they have walked the many streets of that great city. Indeed I am hearing over the radio as I write that there is one Irish person injured from yesterday’s atrocity.
It was of London that Samuel Johnson said  ‘When a man gets tired of London he is tired of life’ . The attack yesterday (Wednesday 22nd March) will not alter that measurably.  

Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 
Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

The Journey and Death of Derry’s Martin McGuinness
There is plenty of coverage regarding the life and death of Martin McGuinness of Derry.  If one was really interested in getting a view of the terrible conditions in which his nationalist community was expected to live in and tolerate, in the Northern Ireland state of the half century from its establishment I would suggest that they read a biography by Seamus Deane titled ‘Reading in the Dark’. It was a prescribed text in secondary schools over a decade ago.

A review of it goes thus:
“  Hugely acclaimed in Great Britain, where it was awarded the Guardian Fiction Prize and short-listed for the Booker, Seamus Deane's first novel is a mesmerizing story of childhood set against the violence of Northern Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s.  ‘Reading in the Dark’ is a novel written by Seamus Deane in 1996. The novel is set in Derry, Northern Ireland and extends from February 1945 through July 1971”.

After The Treaty of 1921/22 and the division of the country into a Southern 26 County state and a Northern Ireland semi-state ruled from Stormont with representation at Westminster. The majority Unionist population ruled by ensuring that they dominated representation with a practise called ‘gerrymandering’ i.e. the division of electoral areas to ensure that a Unionist would be elected. This electoral area manipulation was bulwarked by a voting requirement based on property ownership. When the Civil Rights Movement began to agitate for basic civil rights after the mid-sixties the Northern Ireland Government and establishment came down with severity on those who sought these basic rights. This was seen at its zenith in the killing of 13 people on what is referred to as ‘Bloody Sunday’ on the 30th of January 1972. The IRA had been almost a dead organisation by the time The Civil Rights Movement began but the violent establishment-reaction gave the IRA the oxygen which revived it enormously especially the Bloody Sunday violence. While Martin McGuinness is regarded as having been a member of the IRA prior to Bloody Sunday he emerged from that cataclysmic day and was active for many years. I write this as  a backdrop as to why some young men of that time and place would have joined the IRA. Generations in Northern Ireland felt betrayed and left isolated by ‘the treaty’ division.  The 70s’ and 80s’ were terribly violent and bleak times.  But out of the darkness came a time for Peace and Martin McGuinness with Ian Paisley and many others facilitated the Good Friday Agreement. Like Ian Paisley they took the path of peace.  It was a seismic change with hugely positive results for Northern Ireland and is seen as an exemplar for the solution of such problems throughout the world.

• So, what I emphasise is the capacity of a man to change and if one cannot change oneself then there is little chance to change others. Martin McGuinness changed course –if not apologising for his past-and that has made all the difference.      

The Death of Ryan McBride
The funeral of Martin McGuinness is not the only sad funeral in Derry today as they also lay to rest the remains of Ryan McBride the Captain of the Derry City soccer team who died suddenly on Sunday shortly after leading Derry City to a convincing victory over Drogheda. He was just 27 years old.  It was a nice thing that the President Ml. D. Higgins could legitimately attend since his connection with soccer is well known.

• While it seems that it is almost trivial to note other small things following the above, life always goes on. As Abraham Lincoln once remarked; ‘The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time’. I presume he meant that we would have the time to resolve issues rather than be overwhelmed by them.

Boyle Celtic‘s Journey
Boyle Celtic are now involved in four competitions and the games are stacking up like aircraft in a fog.
1. They are still in the hunt in the domestic Sligo/Leitrim League. 2.They are in the Connacht Cup, a competition they would dearly like to have a real shot at. Their game against Ballymoe had to be postponed last Sunday due to an unplayable pitch. 3. Because they were in the last 4 of the FAI Junior Cup they qualified for the Senior Cup preliminary round and have been drawn to play against another Junior Cup Semi-Finalist i.e. Killarney, in Killarney on Sunday April 30th. 4. The immediate and biggest challenge is the Semi-Final of the FAI junior Cup v Evergreen Utd. of Kilkenny in the Sligo Showgrounds on Sunday April 8th.   This week-end Kevin Hickey will be recording a Boyle Celtic anthem penned by Donie O’Connor  which will be placed on cloud whatever for downloading. Kevin at full tilt is like Rob Strong in the Commitments. A busy time indeed for the Celts.
I did not refer to Boyle Celtic’s epic win in Carrick-on-Suir as the local papers gave it a fine coverage and my compliments to Martin Wynne for the Roscommon Herald and Seamus Duke for the Roscommon People who did it justice. They are to be commended for making the long journey to cover the game and in fairness they got some drama to report back on. A good day for all.    

Roscommon in Croke Park v Dublin.
Roscommon put in a disappointing performance against Monaghan on Sunday last at Inniskeen. Now they face Dublin in Croke Park on Saturday evening under lights. Dublin are going for a record number of games unbeaten.  I think it is 34 so they will have a bit extra to play for. Still it is a game to become a hero in.
Disappointingly Roscommon U 21s’ lost to Sligo in Kiltoom last night, Wednesday, and so ends a hugely impressive run by the U 21s’ having reached the last 7 Connacht finals in the grade. What a difference a year brings.

Boyle GAA
Boyle Senior team play St. Dominck’s in Knockcroghery at 2.30  on Sunday in the Intermediate O’Gara Cup League.  

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