Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Fair Iona

Ah Larry:
I sent you a wee note on your email... not sure you got it. You may have misunderstood me. I am rather, and have always been, distrustful of religion, religion is learned, faith is experienced. Religion is studied in books and taught to you like the lessons quoted to me by folks who are one or another member of a alphabet soup communist party, the most religious folks you meet. No, - faith makes it possible that one might not blow one's brains out when some religious yuppie in a biz suit and a parks department van drives up when you and an old pal have an audience of 12 - 16 folks enthralled by a song about the loss of a trawler you saw go down in your youth...

this yuppie who's religion is protecting the park from spontaneous culture moves you on... moves you on when you are bringing song and news to the people as you have done since the age of nine, and your people have done for thousands of years... as the eight generations of poets in your family you can name, and the line of them running back into the unimaginable past of the Norse sagas before we took Normandy, before we took England and settled in Westmoreland, before we took Ireland, and came here to the new world with songs and stories and... a life now being strangled by the religion of capitol... of rules .... of fear... of youth, of move along... keep religion, I can't use it, I will take faith, the faith of my mother's people, moving on...

I haven't been able to dress in formal plain this week, can't do, it strikes me of religion. I have felt drawn to my old Harris tweed coat, bought when I was 18 from Irish Travellers, old at the time, fished in off the coast of Ireland, worn on Iona, as old now as it was when I bought it, warm to my heart and more like my skin than my skin...

Sing ye o' the Cuillins o'Skye, o'Harris, Dunvegan,
Fair Iona, Joy of my heart, Eilean Mulligh
Whether I wander east or west,
waking or dreaming, you are near me.
Joy of my heart, Eilean Mulligh.

Peat and heather, how they call me,
little wee bothan by the hillside,
Joy of my heart, Eilean Mulligh

Whether I wander east or west,
waking or dreaming, you are near me.
Joy of my heart, Eilean Mulligh.

Friendly hearts are waiting to greet me,
welcoming arms are there to hold me,
Joy of my heart, Eilean Mulligh
Whether I wander east or west,
waking or dreaming, you are near me.
Joy of my heart, Eilean Mulligh.

In my youth in Ireland, I was never turned out of a house by a dear friend telling it me it was for my own good, never at a great loss to find a place to busk, treated as a welcome guest if I had a song to sing... life was much more worth living, how can I find words to tell you the deep loving welcomes of Belfast in the seventies with danger and war all around, the loving embrace of song in the mountains of Kerry, the trust between master and aprentice in Maharees... and what .... where is it here today? Don't know... if I find it I will let you know.

Larry dear fellow, that is as positive as it gets, positive fully to my heart and soul, and useless to all but those who stand in the park to hear me sing, and dangerous to the wankers who drive Mary Pat and me out from the margins of society we have always owned... the Normans are on the plain and driving us from the common land again... the frontier is ended... and life as my people know it, nearly dead. What joy...


At 1:03 PM, Blogger Larry said...

I appreciate your feelings, Lor; you certainly have a legitimate complaint; of course life is very unfair to most of us.

I disagree with your definition of religion. For me religion is a beautiful word. Like every other beautiful word (love for example) it has been grossly abused, misused and degraded. But I am not willing to abandon it on that account.

Our religion is what we have our faith in. My religion is the love of God and my neighbor, which includes you.

Blessings to you. I got your message and mean to return it shortly.

At 6:35 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

I take your point, I am fond of saying to folks who say that they don't hark to organized religion that we Quakes are disorganized religion... I guess, for me, religion is the whole creed thing... look I am sorry for the rant, I am sending you an email...
bless you friend


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