Time for one more,
Eyes are bright;
In store tonight.
Told me often
That she might
Sail the coffin
To the light.
Raid the palace,
Find the plight,
Raise a chalice
To the night.
Keel was missing
From the base;
Lean to kiss
Your utter grace.
Wind was lacking
Bar is packing,
Drain your glass.
Blood has dried
Around the cut;
Smile is wide
And reckless but
Time for one more:
I’ll go up
To the shore
And break the cup.
30 responses to “One More (a poem)”
The haunting simplicity of a nightmare. Wonderful words.
Thank you very much, Cymbeline.
At sea. You have been blessed with a gift of gold, Brendano. You have also been given a brass compass. Very few people have both. Many have neither.
Very kind of you, Cymbeline.
Is this your own work?
It doesn’t say but if it is, do let me know how old you were when you first penned it before I comment. There is great wisdom in the words and the experience.
Hello, Ike. Yes, my own words … thank you.
I would have been around 37 when I wrote it. 🙂
I guessed it had to be your work but I didn’t want to make a fool of myself.
The words speak of that age in this part of the World. It is too mature for a younger one; just right for the age you mention. Age is important in how one observes things; one can be too old sometimes and a child will do something else better than an older person. Yours was just perfect. It has the depth and the quiet humor with the sadness combined with wisdom for exquisite balance. You are fortunate to have a career with letters.
Do the Irish still sing often?
Thanks very much, Ike … I appreciate it.
The Irish do tend to sing quite a lot at social gatherings, and this seems to have passed on to my children’s generation, who have the same liking for that kind of thing. A gathering where everyone that wants to will be called on to sing can be very enjoyable. The singer is respected and encouraged.
There will be a big music/singing session in my local pub next Saturday, in which I expect to play quite a prominent part, as I generally do.
Glad to hear about the singing. You must take some pictures and make a few recordings. I sure would like to listen to it when the time comes. Enjoy it and take the children along.
Thanks, Ike … I will enjoy it, and the children are growing up. 🙂
The shore, and Irish children. In French law, it is illegal for beaches to be private, and I sometimes go to the beach of this hotel http://www.capest.com/ because it is only a few minutes away from where I live. You can see the tiny beach on the photograph. There are no other beaches so close.
One day, I went there with a friend, and our children. I took
a linen tablecloth to place on the sand, and we had a picnic there. Champagne and bacon sandwiches. The friend is English, but both her parents are from the West of Ireland.
There were some white children in a tree there. A girl and a boy. Aged about five and seven. They were magical. I asked them where they were from, and they said Dublin. They were staying at the hotel. Rich Mummy and Daddy. I asked them if they would like to share our sandwiches, and they said no thank you very politely, and then they ran away.
The hotel looks fabulous, Cymbeline … a paradise. Thanks for that and for the story.
They were beautiful children.
Paradise for me – no. Nowhere is a paradise when you cannot touch the body of the man you love. And it can be dangerous to try to return to tropical childhoods, as I have learnt.
This truth does not stop me from seeing the fleeting beauty of those Dublin children on that day.
I suppose that was the truth of the moment, Cymbeline, which you have talked about before … the music of what happened.
I still think it’s a pity that you won’t write about your childhood … fleshing out the story of that teacher, for example. And of course it’s a great pity that you and your husband are apart.
Perhaps I will one day, when I have a bit more mental energy. When I spoke about the dangers of trying to return to childhood, I meant the fact of having come here. I came here because I wanted to see the tropics again. This created all sorts of unforeseen career problems for my husband, hence the physical separation.
Anyway, I am talking too much about myself.
OK, now I see.
‘Anyway, I am talking too much about myself.’
Not as far as I’m concerned.
Thank you for your kind remark, Brendano.
Post 14. At the same time, you should not imagine that my African and South Pacific childhood has anything remotely unusual about it, in the external sense. The world is full of British ex-children who were taken to all sorts of extraordinary parts of the world without ever being emigrants. British through and through.
I was brought up speaking Welsh in Africa and in the highlands and islands of Papua New Guinea – perhaps that is the unusual aspect.
I have never spoken English to my father.
My mother is English, and English and Welsh have always been spoken at home. Like Michael Hartnett, I have never felt a tension between English and Welsh at home.
Unlike Michael Hartnett, I do not see English as a language of pigs.
I belong to both.
No, Hartnett wasn’t saying that. He was attributing to certain people in bygone times the idea that English was a language of commerce rather than culture.
When I posted a poem of Hartnett’s on MyT once, Ped, who had never heard of him, Googled him and came up with the ‘language to sell pigs in’ phrase … hence Hartnett supposedly hated the English etc. Typical Ped.
I was not thinking pigs = English when I wrote ‘language of pigs’. Sorry if my slack use of language gave that impression.
I understood the idea of English being a language of commerce; and a necessary sin.
Unlike Harnett, I do not think that English is simply a necessary sin.
But sometimes you have to overstate your case to get a tenth of the recognition you deserve.
Sorry. I have gone back to the poem. I had not read it properly yet.
Yes, I see. Hartnett is saying that in the process of going back to Irish, he will not judge those before him who took on the mantle of English for reasons of survival.
Thank you, Cymbeline. I like the ‘pigs’ poem a lot … simple, eloquent, strong.
The sin, I suppose, is that the language is the expression of the people’s soul and temper. To betray it is to betray one’s own soul.
Not that that made me pay extra attention in Irish class for 13 years. But I’m glad that I’m at least acquainted with the language and have some grasp of it.
Yes, language is part of the identity of the soul, which is why some people try to stamp it out.
I believe that Irish has official status as first language of Ireland now.
I have just had a look at my passport – United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The title page of the passport is in English, Welsh, and Scottish Gaelic. There is no Irish. There should be, as Irish is one of the languages of Northern Ireland.
How many generations ago was Irish spoken as an everyday language in your family?
Thank you, Cymbeline. From the 1937 Constitution:
1. The Irish language as the national language is the first official language.
2. The English language is recognised as a second official language.
3. Provision may, however, be made by law for the exclusive use of either of the said languages for any one or more official purposes, either throughout the State or in any part thereof.’
Irish in NI is somewhat contentious, as it was hijacked to some degree by the ‘Republican Movement’. It is seen as a language of nationalists, and whenever it gets official recognition the unionists claim that Ulster Scots should be recognized too (which it is, to some degree … one sometimes sees advertisements for ‘Chief Executive/Head Yin’ of a state agency or whatever).
Irish is very similar to Scottish Gaelic, as you know, but yes, it should be on the passport too, I think.
I wish I had found out more about my family history before my parents died. My maternal grandfather was from a commercial background in Sligo town, I think, and didn’t have an Irish surname, so it may have been originally an English or Scottish family. He became a Glasgow stonemason for some reason, and was the only surviving grandparent when I was born. He lived with us in Tipperary, and died when I was almost six. I remember him fairly well.
My other three grandparents, from Cork and Tipperary, were probably all of small farming stock … their families probably spoke Irish as the vernacular into the nineteenth century.