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[I wrote this in July but forgot to post it here then.]
You should be here in these times
To tell us what you’re thinking:
To show how your sweetness has developed
And your sharpness has increased.
This unholy blur started with shivers:
Our lives’ coldest spell.
You were gone for no reason;
Time passed slowly while snow fell.
Ireland froze, except for rivers of tears.
A new song that I’ve written.
I lie awake and I’m pondering
Where the money goes
I think of times I was following
The Emperor’s new clothes
My latest song …
I remember you told me
You were born on a ship at sea
All the oceans we’ve explored
Since the day I climbed on board
On Tuesday we found ourselves at Lissadell House, the ancestral home of the Gore-Booth family, six years after we first visited it and Co. Sligo. Back then we went to see and hear Leonard Cohen; this time the house itself – famous for its connection with Constance Markievicz (née Gore-Booth) and W.B. Yeats – was the attraction. We looked out at the rain through the windows of which Yeats wrote (and Cohen recited):
The light of evening, Lissadell,
Great windows open to the south,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.
(from ‘In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz’)
There’s an extensive and excellent Easter 1916 exhibition in Lissadell at present, including a lot of Markievicz paraphernalia. There is also a wealth of material related to Yeats and his brother, the prolific painter Jack B. Yeats. Continue reading
A new song that I’ve written.
You can’t drive a straight mile on a crooked road
Or walk away from reaping what you’ve sowed
Or fill your head with other people’s stuff
Because their dreams will never be enough
You will try
To live a life of peace
With love that will increase
The summer’s golden glow
When the dark
Of night will take its toll
The hope that’s in your soul
Will let you
Echoing the songs of long ago
Love will grow
When it’s time to start again you’ll go
With the flow
All the things you’ve done are in the past
All the days are flying by so fast
Still you try to read another sign
The time has come for crossing one more line
Soon the sun
Will bring another day
The night will fade away
New flowers will start to grow
And the life
That brings them out to play
Will find some other way
I watched the second part of the Christy Moore Journey documentary tonight, having watched the first part at the weekend. I’ve always liked Christy and his music: he is a man who clearly cares about a lot of people, but I wish he were not so selective in his caring.
A teenage girl who dies giving birth in a grotto will have a song written about her; names of the Birmingham Six and the victims of Bloody Sunday will be recited in songs. That is right and proper. But teenage girls killed by the IRA in Birmingham and children killed by the IRA in Warrington will not have a song written about them. Their names will not be recited. They are of the wrong tribe for compassion or for outrage. Neither will members of the ‘right’ tribe have their names recited if they were killed by the same tribe. Mary Travers, a 22-year-old Catholic teacher, was murdered by the IRA as she left a church. Christy won’t be writing a song about her.
Christy cares about injustices in Latin America, and that’s good. In our own situation, though, his songs show that he cares only about Irish nationalist victims – not about the victims of Irish nationalism. This is tribalism.
If you want to be a tribalist, that’s fine. Just don’t pretend to be something else altogether – a humanitarian, for example.