A Song by Mary Black
A Poem by Eavan Boland
A Painting by Peter Dee
Today one of the definitive Irish Traditional Songs sung by the regal Mary Black and an extraordinarily powerful Poem by an Irish Poet of world stature, Eavan Boland.
The Painting today is by a contemporary Irish Artist, Peter Dee, whose arresting and highly covetable Still Life works are the fruit of deep contemplation and confident technical accomplishment.
More examples of his work can be seen at http://www.peterdee.ie
She Moves Through The Fair is a Song that we will never get to the bottom of.
It contains details of everyday life and a mysterious, swirling, intermingling of the known and supernatural Worlds we all move within.
There are some sorrows, some griefs, that can only be borne through Song being too deep for common speech.
The common speech of hand clapping dealers striking bargains at the fair.
While we move, half-blind, through our lives the stars look down and the swans fly over the lake.
All the while the soft fluttering of moths fill the night and dew will glisten on the meadow.
While we bear our burden of loss and longing the wide world turns and turns oblivious.
All as we move through the fair.
Through the fair.
Mary Black’s singing embodies the humanity and the other worldliness of the song with glowing assurance.
Mary Black can flat out sing!
She Moves Through The Fair
I once had a sweetheart, I loved her right well
I loved her far better than my tongue can tell
Her parents did slight me for the want of guile
Adieu to all pleasure since I lost my dear
She went away from me and moved through the fair
Where hand-clapping dealers’ loud shouts rent the air
The sunlight around her did sparkle and play
Saying, “It will not be long, love, ’til our wedding day”
When dew falls on meadows and moths fill the night
When glow from the greesach on half-froze, half-light
I’ll slip from my casement and I’ll run away
Then it will not be long, love, ’til our wedding day
I dreamed last night that my love came in
She came in so easy, her feet made no din
She came stepping up to me and this she did say
“It will not be long, love, ’til our wedding day”
Eavan Boland’s Poetry is characterised by fierce intelligence and a determination to fearlessly examine the toxins of Ireland’s history as understood and experienced by a modern Irish Woman.
So, it is a Poetry which utters outrage, anger and bewildered frustration as well as ease and joy.
I sometimes feel as if her work has served to redraw the map of Irish Poetry – significantly expanding the imaginative territory and cutting a path for others to follow.
The Poem I have selected today is the work of a Major Poet.
Eavan Boland : Quarantine
In the worst hour of the worst season
of the worst year of a whole people
a man set out from the workhouse with his wife.
He was walking — they were both walking — north.
She was sick with famine fever and could not keep up.
He lifted her and put her on his back.
He walked like that west and west and north.
Until at nightfall under freezing stars they arrived.
In the morning they were both found dead.
Of cold. Of hunger. Of the toxins of a whole history.
But her feet were held against his breastbone.
The last heat of his flesh was his last gift to her.
Let no love poem ever come to this threshold.
There is no place here for the inexact
praise of the easy graces and sensuality of the body.
There is only time for this merciless inventory:
Their death together in the winter of 1847.
Also what they suffered. How they lived.
And what there is between a man and woman.
And in which darkness it can best be proved.
Recommended Websites :
Poetry And Environment (https://helkc4.wordpress.com)
Helen Harrison is an Irish Poet whose work I admire for its lovely evocations of the dignity and Wonder present in, ‘Everyday Life’.
I recommend her collection, ‘The Last Fire’ published by Lapwing.
I chanced upon a copy of Ron Carey’s debut Poetry Collection, ‘Distance’ when it was published by Revival Press in 2015.
I must have nearly read the whole marvellous collection in one gulp!
These are Poems that will stay with you.
Ron’s site can be found at roncareypoetry.com.
Twitter : @RonCarey49