Treating the Robins.
Few wild birds are as close to domesticity as the Robin. I’ll give her a her and a capital R. here, if you don’t mind, out of respect. For some years now at this time of year a number of Robins call to my raised back patio. They have an expectation of being welcomed and treated well. Hopefully they are not disappointed. Each morning I donate a few spoonful’s of porridge for their breakfast. They are near eating out my hand and we exchange the salutations of the day. Natural instincts are just amazing. Many times there is not a Robin to be seen but when feeding time comes they just emerge from, wherever. Of course when I am a bit late they arrive pecking at the empty feeding bowl and staring in the window kind of chastising me for my lapse. The Robin must be a brave soul as it tries its best to defend its territory from other larger predators and even has dust ups with its own kind. Keeping the feed solely for the Robin is a challenge at times as the blackbird and occasionally the magpie have got in on the act now. The robin will peck and fly a short distance and return regularly. She is not one to gorge but eats in steady portions.
The Robin quickly appears also when one has the spade or other implement and they follow your course seeing the possibility of the odd worm. The Robin’s red breast is traditionally regarded as having sprung from its attendance at Calvary when a splash of blood marked it distinctively. It is suggested that this happened when the Robin pulled a thorn from Christ's brow.
Certain birds down the aeons of time were often caged for amusement. I suppose some still are. A poet once wrote of the Robin in this situation “A Robin redbreast in a cage/Puts all heaven in a rage”. I remember Pat Feely at an occasional party relating the monologue of ‘Who Killed Cock Robin’ . ‘Not I’ was the response of a succession of suspects.
I look forward to seeing my cheeky Robins giving me the eye and suggesting that I get on with the chore of their feeding which I am happy to do. They deserve that for the diversion of their pretentious presence.
Robbie Burns Scotland’s National Poet.
Thursday of last week, January 18th , was Rabbie Burns Night, the annual celebration of the great Scottish poet who has given us some of the iconic poems of the English language. Nearly everyone will have recited/sang and shed a tear in doing so with his New Year’s Eve rallying call ‘For Auld lang syne’ (for the sake of old times)
Robert Burns, also known as Rabbie Burns, Ploughman Poet, is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide.
He was born on January 25, 1759 in Alloway Scotland and died on July 21, 1796 in Dumfries aged just 37.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!
Chorus - For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
His great love poem/song and an inspiration to many like Bob Dylan is…
A Red, Red Rose
O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry:
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.
And fare thee well, my only Luve
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile.
Amongst the notable stand out quotes from Burns, regularly adapted, is the following
“The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain For promis'd joy”.
As can be seen ‘O’ Mice and Men’ was used by my overall favourite writer John Steinbeck for a novel of the same name in the 30s’. Many Boyle people may remember this as a New York Broadway play transmitted to the screen in Carrick starring Chris O’Dowd and James Franco in April 2014.
Shane McGowan at 60
Since I am in the literary vein I see that another poet/song-writer with similarities to Rabbie Burns i.e. Shane McGowan celebrated his 60th birthday last week January 15th. He was actually born on Christmas Day 1957. The concert took place at the National concert Hall organised by his friends to mark the occasion. It was a celebration to mark this notable birthday since it was widely felt back the years that Shane might not make a significant birthday of any consequence due to his lifestyle where drink and excess was dominant. (I go on a related diversion here; I have a friend, a Roscommon town legend, named T. Hill. A few years ago he visited his doctor’s centre and was met by a new doctor to him. T. enquired about his former doctor whom he had not seen for a number of years at this stage. ‘Oh he died some five years ago’ answered his now doc, ’Any particular reason why you ask?’ ‘Well he was the doctor who told me fifteen years ago that I wouldn’t make another five if I did not make drastic changes to MY lifestyle’ replied T.)
Anyway Shane has made 60 in the company of his patient and tolerant partner Victoria Mary Clarke. Once when the members of 'The Pogues' could no longer tolerate Shane’s erratic behaviour they fired him from the band to which Shane stoically responded ‘What took you so long?’
While ‘Fairytale of New York’ is the dominant song of the airwaves Shane has been the author of a number of other fine songs such as ‘Rainy Day in Soho which I transfer to below. I’ll paste a verse of a favoured Dodd’s session song first;
Sally MacLennane sung from time to time by Francis Gaffney.
We walked him to the station in the rain
We kissed him as we put him on the train
And we sang him a song of times long gone
Though we knew that we'd be seeing him again (Far away)
Sad to say I must be on my way
So buy me beer and whiskey cause I'm going far away (far away)
I'd like to think of me returning when I can
To the greatest little boozer and to Sally MacLennane
If Burns’s love song is ‘Red Red Rose’ Shane’s Rainy Night in Soho is a fine song in a similar vein.
A RAINY NIGHT IN SOHO
I've been loving you a long time
Down all the years, down all the days
And I've cried for all your troubles
Smiled at your funny little ways
We watched our friends grow up together
And we saw them as they fell
Some of them fell into Heaven
Some of them fell into Hell
I took shelter from a shower
And I stepped into your arms
On a rainy night in Soho
The wind was whistling all its charms
I sang you all my sorrows
You told me all your joys
Whatever happened to that old song
To all those little girls and boys
Sometimes I wake up in the morning
The ginger lady by my bed
Covered in a cloak of silence
I hear you in my head
I'm not singing for the future
I'm not dreaming of the past
I'm not talking of the first time
I never think about the last
Now the song is nearly over
We may never find out what it means
Still there's a light I hold before me
You're the measure of my dreams
The measure of my dreams
I really like the repetition in the last two lines, like Frost with ‘I have miles to go before I sleep and miles to go before I sleep’ in ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’.
The Passing of Dolores
As I write Limerick bids farewell to their iconic singer Dolores O’Riordan. Barry Egan in the Sunday independent Living Supplement wrote “(It is) heart-breaking to imagine Dolores O‘Riordan’s short, brilliant life is truly over. Heart-breaking to think that she is gone forever, this beautiful young woman with more talent in her little finger than a dozen Beyonces, this voice of a generation who could sing like an angel with a damaged wing soaring over Mount Olympus”. I do not know enough to comment on the talent or music and songs of Dolores so I rely on her friend Barry to be the voice of commendation.
*The Robin outside my window has ushered me down the road the ‘View’ has taken today and leaves a small list of subjects that I meant to touch on for another day, perhaps. Today I’m being indulgent. ‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both …’ and all that.
I’ll make one exception though with my final paragraph. I don’t want the meringue to get stale.
Boyle Celtic Shine Under the Southern Lights
For the first 45 minutes of this Roscommon League game in Lecarrow, on a cold Saturday night, Boyle Celtic were in the doldrums against table toppers Castlerea Celtic. Castlerea played with speed, quality and threat in that first half and finished 2 goals up at the break. One would have to be a real optimist to suggest a dramatic turnaround. This encouraged a member of the significant Castlerea support to ask of one the meagre Boyle support, ‘How did Boyle get to where they did in competitions last year?’ By the end of the game the Boyle supporter had a gilded answer but his side-line adversary had left before the referee had called the final curtain.
In the second half a revitalised Boyle had awoken from their slumber to play champagne football and after five minutes or so it was 2 all and shortly after 3 to 2 for Boyle. Boyle were now playing with style and determination and continued to the end by which time the score had reached Boyle 6 Castlerea 2. For the partisan 8 or 9 Boyle supporters it was ridiculously entertaining, a performance and game which those 8/9 will remember for some time and smile at the recollection.
Boyle Kyle Sweeney/ Dessie Carlos/ John Connolly Capt./ Sean Purcell 1/ Gerard McDermotroe/ Ml. Corrigan 2/ Danny Browne 1 penalty/ Aaron Calpin/Shane Battles/ Niall Brennan/ Dylan Edwards 2 with Luka Roddy/ Brian McCrann/ Lochlainn Conboy/ Lee McKilleen/ Martin Doherty. Manager Darren Hurd.
(Boyle are 4th in the League which Castlerea still lead with two games more played. The favourites to challenge Castlerea at this stage are St. Peter’s Athlone but ‘there is many a slip twixt cup and lip’. If Boyle can consistently replicate the form of last Saturday night then they could get in the mix. A key game is the return game against St. Peter’s who won the first one by 1 to 0 also at Lecarrow. The Roscommon and District website has much detail on the progress of the games in the games including leading goal scorers with Ml. Corrigan in second place and Dylan Edwards in third).