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, June 16, 2005

Dead Music

Malli Dhonn, this terribly wonderful song, that died stillborn before my eyes. I play it in the park, and people ask if it is on my CD... no, will it be, maybe someday, but I don't know... the song... is a thing I hear hauntingly imperfect by crowd noise on DVD, damaged as if by graffiti ... born long enough to see and love, but not long enough to shine with its own life.
What is the value of a song, the witness of a drowned crew, in the blackness of the trap of their sinking vessel, the madness of the widow, the touching of history... I now know there must be a thousand thousand lost songs, like lost souls wailing in the void of never.

White clouds standing in a think bank just over the harbor, hides the lower slopes of Mt. Brandon, so that the peak hangs like a rock floating on a cloudless blue sky.
Once you have seen that, you know the origin of the medieval myths of islands floating in the air.
The smell of the sea mixes with smell of the earth and grass cropped short by sheep - marked with red and blue paint.

Dingle, It was not a deep water port then, the marshy holy ground was not a Mall, I had holes in my shoes then, most of the time, avoiding stepping on the sheep droppings where the flocks were driven through the town to be butchered, past the row of old abandoned stone houses... now refurbished at my most recent visit. "They wont last," a friend tells me... on my return seventeen years on now... " they're built of crap".

Some surprise, the new Ireland like the new everywhere seems a veneer of crap - bright Formica over rich old oak, - veneer on press wood ready to mulch as the Irish mists have their way with them.
But I know I am traveling there again. not on a plane to the Eire nua, of cable TV and hot showers, but the Ireland I so loved of cold water taps and bread baked in the ash of the turf fire moored in the open hearth.

Sure I know it was hard and people crave comfort, but for me, for me, I was never, never ... never more happy, no I lie, once I was... a secret dear and deep in my heart, not secret for my want or shame but an enforced secret by those who don't care... but I was so happy then, holes in my shoes and all as Genie my dearest love and I would walk and hitch and walk again the many miles from Scragg in Dingle to Listowl, oh to see again THOSE days of the races at Listowl... busk for a week, I had hunger on me, and dreamed of food and drink.... but I did not know poverty as I know it... so sharply now.

All I really needed I could get, make or make do without. And no piper ever died of thirst. Back then there was always a pint, more pints than a human could drink... set down in front of you... "give us the long note boy..." the pipers welcome and the pipers, welcome. So now, in bitter loneliness, broken only by a moment with dear friends, two dear friends dear hearts tonight, I will go awhile home to Ireland of my youth, lamented and lost, and I will breath, breath in so deeply the sweet morning air, and watch the sun set in a torrent of flames ( like Siobhan O'Connor's hair ) behind the Three Sisters, Brandon Creek, Skellig Michael, beyond... I will go there, eyes closed and pray I do not fall asleep, for even in my dreams I cannot escape this this New York, and all the false hopes and false hearts within... this cold century just begun.

A silver gray morning... all that is not light and fog etched like a razor on my eyes, I still see their orange sou'westers as the hammering of the engine reaches my ears... you live in my mind... even if the child, the song is dead. Malli Dhonn.


At 12:55 PM, Blogger Larry said...

Lorcan, we'll just have to call you a Luddite. Like my friend, Alfred Ames, former editor at the Chicago Tribune (for 30 years), and a flaming liberal Quaker.

Alfred has written all his life on his trusty Underwood. I suggest that word processing on a computer has some advantages. "no way" he says, I'm a typewriter man.

He doesn't write much anymore, and I'm saddened by all the beautiful blogs he might have written, joisting with the economic and political trolodytes.

Even my dear wife. I'm quoting some of the juicious passages from The World is Flat, and she always has an argument against it.

I told her about Friedman's column on Toyota, suggesting it might be a good idea if GM went bankrupt and Toyota bought it. She says, wouldn't you like to have a horse and buggy?

That's Luddism; I'm not a Luddite.

Cheers and carry on. Keep up a stiff upper lip, ole chum.


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