I watched two programmes tonight that made me think about the state of this country. The first was an episode of Nationwide that featured young Irish people who are doing very well in London. One of them is Conor Clinch, from Coolock, a 20-year-old photographer who plans to open his own studio. He shows no signs of wanting to return to Ireland. Who could blame him?
I thought of Aer Lingus’ recent marketing campaign in which it brought some family members back to Ireland, squeezing the maximum emotional capital from the tearful reunions while informing us mournfully that over 50% of Irish people wouldn’t make it ‘home’ for Christmas. How many of those people didn’t come ‘home’ because home is now somewhere else—somewhere where they have happily integrated, perhaps married a local person? The sentimental notion of ‘Wild Geese’, tied up with historical victimhood, is no longer appropriate. Continue reading
Pauline and I watched Ken Loach’s film Jimmy’s Hall on Friday night. It was very emotional: we were both in tears at the end, and Pauline said to me ‘Think how great Ireland could have been!’ The film is based on the true story of Jim Gralton, the only Irish person ever to be deported from Ireland.
It is set in a small rural community much like our own, in the 1920s and 1930s. Gralton, a socialist, returns to Ireland from the US, having left in the aftermath of the 1919–21 war here. His friends and neighbours ask him to reopen a hall for use as a community centre, where people can meet for cultural, social and educational activities. He duly opens the hall, with assistance from the friends and neighbours, but the local parish priest resents its existence, believing that the Roman Catholic Church should control everything. Continue reading
A rough demo of a new song.
From over here I see you there
Sitting back in the big armchair
And what I’m feeling can’t be said
It stays inside my head
Words will not get me very far
They won’t take me to where you are
They fall like raindrops and flow away
A rough demo of a song that I have just written.
I won’t be unkind
I will always speak my mind
I will not run, I will not hide
I won’t leave you behind
I will not be blind
What’s been lost I will find
You will see the best of me
When our minds are combined
Filed under Music, Politics
A song based on an old poem of mine.
Time for one more,
Eyes are bright;
In store tonight
Told me often
That she might
Sail the coffin
To the light. Continue reading
[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.