Monday, August 27, 2012

An old poem by Thomas Davis written in honor of one of the heroes of the Irish Rebellion of 1641,
Owen Roe O'Neill.

Lament for the Death of Eoghan Ruadh O’Neill

By Thomas Davis

“DID they dare, did they dare, to slay Eoghan Ruadh O’Neill?”
“Yes, they slew with poison him they feared to meet with steel.”
“May God wither up their hearts! May their blood cease to flow,
May they walk in living death, who poisoned Eoghan Ruadh.”

“Though it break my heart to hear, say again the bitter words.
From Derry, against Cromwell, he marched to measure swords:
But the weapon of the Sassanach met him on his way.
And he died at Cloch Uachtar, upon St. Leonard’s day.

“Wail, wail ye for the Mighty One. Wail, wail ye for the Dead,
Quench the hearth, and hold the breath—with ashes strew the head.
How tenderly we loved him. How deeply we deplore!
Holy Saviour! but to think we shall never see him more!

“Sagest in the council was he, kindest in the hall,
Sure we never won a battle—’twas Eoghan won them all.
Had he lived—had he lived—our dear country had been free:
But he’s dead, but he’s dead, and ’tis slaves we’ll ever be.

“O’Farrell and Clanricarde, Preston and Red Hugh,
Audley and MacMahon—ye valiant, wise and true:
But—what are ye all to our darling who is gone?
The Rudder of our Ship was he, our Castle’s corner stone.

“Wail, wail him through the Island! Weep, weep for our pride!
Would that on the battlefield our gallant chief had died!
Weep the Victor of Beinn Burb—weep him, young and old:
Weep for him, ye women—your beautiful lies cold!

“We thought you would not die—we were sure you would not go,
And leave us in our utmost need to Cromwell’s cruel blow—
Sheep without a shepherd, when the snow shuts out the sky—
O! why did you leave us, Eoghan? Why did you die?

“Soft as woman’s was your voice, O’Neill! bright was your eye,
O! why did you leave us, Eoghan? Why did you die?
Your troubles are all over, you’re at rest with God on high,
But we’re slaves, and we’re orphans, Eoghan!—why did you die?”

Friday, August 24, 2012

Derbforgaill's Betrayal 

Dermott MacMurchad of Leinster, with heart of wood,
Ruled stolen land with cruel blood
Chieftains of Eire who stood to fight,
If they kept their life, they lost their light
Insulted the Abbess of St. Bridgit's Church grand,
Closed her in a cell in the bed of a man.

Lusted beyond the fjords of Wex and Water
E'en to the walls of Dublin's fine quarter
In MacLoughlin of Ulster Dermott found a friend
Thought his conquests then would know no end
Set his greedy eyes on Connacht and Meath
O'Connor and O'Ruaric vowed to stand to the death

The King and the Prince together stood tall
With honor and sword 'neath Breffni's stout wall
Ere the kerns of MacMurchad heard the clarion's call
Had neither stomach nor heart for naught but withdraw
O'Ruaric's confessor in piety's name
Bade the Prince make a pilgrimage away from war's game

Prince Tiernan, the pilgrim left with the first crow of the cock
Trusting husband saw not the need for a chastity lock
He believed the Bride of Breffni would wait
But the fair Derbforgaill did not lock the gate
MacMurchad came under cover of night
Abducted O'Ruaric's wife and took flight

'Twas a dastardly act, or so it would seem
Yet heard within Breffni's walls, nary a scream
When Tiernan's horse boy gave his account
He swore Derbforgaill was astride the Prince's best mount
And several housemaids reported before the gates closed
She was leading four pack horses carrying all of her clothes

Prince Tiernan returned to find a cold bed
With the fire of vengeance burning his head
Mustered his army and moved with great haste
Toward a fortress in Leinster with intent to lay waste
Dermott's walls breached, the villain escaped in the end
But in all Erin's Isle he found not a friend

But there were those that owed Dermott an old debt
With his daughter Eva sailed o'er to England without regret
King Henry had once borrowed Dermott's ships under sails
To suppress a pesky revolution out there in Wales
Finding Henry in England was sure of little chance
Because the King of England spent most of his time in France

But once found, old Henry would not lend a hand
Unless MacMurchad promised fealty and, of course Irish land
Now Henry avowed he could not an English soldier loan
Gave a letter permitting Dermott raise an army on his own
He looked, but could not hire an army anywhere
Until he met a red-haired Earl, name of Richard de Clare

Now Dermott could not understand, nor would he ever know
How this femme-faced Norman ever earned the title of, 'Strongbow'
He was far from manly, never mistaken for a swain
Some say of him was written, "His blood is better than his brain"
But 'twas a false inditement, Strongbow had a clever plan
His price for aid, an Irish estate and the daughter Eva's hand

The pact agreed for Irish land and Eva as his bride
Strongbow set out to hire some men to fight for Dermott's side
Dermott for Ireland sailed with Norman knights and gallowglasses
 O'Ruaric and O'Connor greeted him and kicked some Norman asses
To buy some time and for his kidnap crime Dermott offered Tiernan gold
Tiernan took the bribe and set the stage for history yet untold

Irish troops fell back, laid down their arms hoping to fight no more
But now Strongbow and his Norman knights stormed onto Ireland's shore
With a thousand men at arms to recapture Dermott's land
His promise kept, Strongbow could now claim fair Eva's hand
The wedding assured Strongbow was now old Dermott's heir
A Norman on the Leinster throne was a curse on all of Eire 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

And now... a bit of esoterica

Fred Ruark
The audible exists in time                             The visible exists in space
Music rendered comes to your ear...and then is gone
The sheets, where in lies the code of the sounds, remains
The music is gone.  The source remains
The horns and strings, the brass and the reeds remain
Existing in space, their music, exhausted in time

The instruments are not the music
Without the player, they only exist in space
In time, the brass may corrode, the wood will dry rot
In time, things that exist in space, corrode, erode, disappear.
The pieces disintegrated are still there in space
But no longer able to produce music in time

The player and the instrument exist in space
Together they produce the music at a point in time
Technology captures sounds and images and makes them timeless
A reproduced disc in space that defies the existence of the player
Things, visible things, now exist in time  and sense exist in space  HMMM

It takes the sophistication of a human mind to create such a world.
Look at something around you - - - - See "it"  Now turn your head - - - - - it is GONE!
They exist only in time...They have been removed from your space.
Is it still there?  Without 360 degree vision, your reality is "here."
But your sensual tool kit has many resources.
You can validate the existence of objects out of your sight.
Just call on other treasures you possess - sound, smell, taste, touch
Like sight, they only exist in time, too soon gone.  And for that, be grateful.

If all of your lifetime sensual experiences were held hostage in your space
Every rock concert, birdsong, car wreck, crying baby, thunder, crashing wave, and symphony
Bombarding your ears concurrently forever!
While the odors of roses, frying bacon, sweet perfume and sewage crowd into your nose.
And every pain and pleasure your tactile nerve endings ever experienced were there forever.
James Joyce captured just such an existence in "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man".
It was his description of hell and it terrorized Daedelus into almost becoming a priest.

So you are lucky you know for the way your senses only exist in time.
The way your senses exist only in time is a gift, a part of your lifelong learning.
You've learned to seek out some experiences and to avoid others
The ability to capture time limited sensual experiences is called ART.

I've said "consider if you will"  Two very important words, consider and will.
To consider is to think seriously.  To imagine an outcome
"Will" is to deliberately choose a course of action to achieve that outcome.
Given the human intellectual ability and the will to  consider things that exist outside of time and space,
You can only hope to be free to select your spatial experiences in the time you have.
And to be free to explore whatever it is that you consider exists outside of that realm.

Work hard to stay free in space and to enjoy yourself in time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Auditioned and got a role in the next production of Southern Maryland Originals who produce short plays by local playwrights.  Also invited to do some 'spoken word' presentations.  Looking at old pieces of poetry and stories from the past to find something I can memorize. We'll see what happens
Played soccer in Baltimore for a long time in 50's through the 70's, and still remain a fan of the game.  When I played, the season was in the winter, and watching the women win the gold in the Olympics brought this old piece back from the deep recesses of my memory.

By Fred Ruark

Standing tip toe in the cold soggy mud
Squinting against the icy rain
Trying to follow what’s going on
At the far end of the pitch

Icicles form on the net at your back
Your fingertips freezing inside your big gloves
A solitary warrior in a rectangular frame
Part of the team ….. but lonely, alone

You play the same game but abide different rules
You can’t wear the colors that get the fans cheering
With the game in front of you
You’re the defensive boss

You’re the rear guard, the last ditch defender
When all others fail, you’re on stage
Decide – Hold your line or charge the ball?
Decide and act – To hesitate is to fail

The goat or the hero with no stops between
Your defenders split and a striker breaks through
He’s onside, you tense to repel the attack
Don’t move too soon, but don’t wait

The rain in your face sets your eyeballs on fire
The ball looks the same as the mud
It’s come down to this one on one – sudden death
You meet the attack with attack off your line

You make yourself big to reduce the shot’s angles
The outside of his left boot strikes the ball hard
The ball curls left just touching your hand
Not enough … you hear the ice in your net shatter like glass

The attacker takes off in a high victory leap
Team mates pull him down and pile on.
Your team mates, dejected, retreat from the pitch
You lie there alone in the mud

Saturday, August 4, 2012

JULY 2012
Erin lies barren of oaks
Ghosts of the druids are weeping
Oaks of Eire are globally strewn
At the bottom of all the oceans where English warships sailed
Sunk by pirates of the Spanish Main
By cannon balls of French frigates
And corsairs off Morocco
And Yankees at Fort McHenry
Storms at the Horn stopped some doing 'transportation'
Short of their mission to Van Demman's land
Some of her oaks remain in Alba
Lining barrels of Scotch whiskey
Some in England as girders
Of Wren's great buildings
Rowans and Hollies now thrive in the sun
No longer in understory of the great oaks
Hills of Ireland, now meadows of green
Grazing sheep where red deer once ran.
Generations await the great oaks return