Friday, 11 September 2009

Urchill an Chreagain

On the clay of Creggan churchyard, I slept all the night in woe,
With the rise of morn, a Maiden came and kissed me, bending low:
Her cheek had the blush of beauty, her tresses the golden sheen,
Twas the world's delight to gaze on the face of that fair young queen.
"O true heart", she said, "and constant! Consume not in grief for aye,
But arise and make ready swiftly and come to the West away;
In that fair land of Promise, strangers bear sway o'er no sea nor shore,
But the sweetness of airy music shall entrance thee for evermore".
"Not for all the gold that monarchs could heap on the round of earth
Would I stay when you seek me, Princess.!
but this lone land of my birth,

Keeps yet on its hills some kindred my heart would be loath to leave,
And the bride that in youth I wedded, were I gone,
would, it may be, grieve".

"Methinks that, of all thy kindled, no friend hast thou living now, -
None speaks but to deride thee, none grieves for thy stricken brow;
No hand goes to clasp a comrade's, no eyes to look into thine -
Why tarry in snows of sorrow, when I call to a life divine?".
"Ah my anguish, my wound! We've lost them,
the Gael of our true Tyrone,

And the Heir of the Fews, unhonoured,
sleeps under the cold gray stone.

Brave branches of Niall Frasach, whose delight were the lays of old,
Whose hearts gave the minstrels welcome,
whose hands gave the poets gold".

"Since at Aughrim all were vanished, and thealas my woe!
And fallen the great Milesians and every chieftain low, -
It were better to fairy fortress, to flee, in our love, away,
Than to suffer Clan William's arrows in thy torn heart every day".

"One pledge I shall ask you only, one promise, O Queen divine!
And then I will follow faithful - still follow each step of thine,
Should I die in some far-off country, in our wanderings east and west,
In the fragrant clay of Creggan let my weary heart have rest.

By Art MacCooey

Sunday, 18 January 2009

The Sojourner

I collect stories from the clouds
and knowing smiles from rainbows;
the roads give me their steady grammar
and trees provide the punctuation.

At times my always wandering mind
is shaken by the roll of thunder,
inspired by the force of lightning
or just pushed further on by a storm.

Mountains give me their solidity
and forests their shaded melancholy,
while brooks whisper their tales
and lakes add becalming murmurs.

On good days the Sun's warming rays
make me travel with greater joy,
and at night the Moon tells me
the most intimate secrets she knows.

When I get home to my little cottage,
I light the fire and a pipe, sit down
with a fresh pot of tea and turn all
I have seen and heard into words.

But whatever I create here on paper
is only a pale shadow of the real world
which is out there, waiting for me
to return for another journey.

By Francis de Roëlman

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Eire, Save the Witness of Your Past!

400 Years of Exile

Being the 400th anniversary of the Flight of the Earls, there have been many events commemorating the departure of the Chieftains. I have had the chance to attend some of them, and I must praise the good job their organisers have done. Going further back, it is sad to see how the real background of the historical events have been forgotten. The Celtic spirit of the living clans, ruled by the ancient Gaelic order and later destroyed by imperial colonisation, is not dead. It lives on in many people today, in Ireland and also abroad, in the many places with an Irish diaspora.
But we also face a lot of modern enemies, and one of the most dangerous is ignorance. Regarding what is currently happening to the Hill of Tara and the surrounding area, one could even think that our glorious past of Druids and wisdom, Kings and heroism, people and culture is attacked by forces who do not just aim to forget the past, but to destroy all remaining evidence of it.

Maybe there are also people who do not want to remember that The North was once part of the country as well. In my view it still is, and will be united with the other 26 counties in the future, as every other nation in the world that was split by historical events was eventually united again.

Being personally concerned, I should feel honoured by the fact that the recent commemorations focused very much on Hugh O'Neill. The O'Donnels were very often mentioned and the Maguires more often forgotten, but it is important to remember that they all worked and fought together for the same aim.
The vicissitudes they went through could even seem to be exaggerated if it had been a fictional work of literature. But more than the Chieftains themselves it is the whole group, each one of those ninety-nine who departed, who should be remembered equally, including their women and children.

Knowing the destiny of some of their descendants as well, I can't avoid mentioning that while the British Crown continues having the biggest fortune on Earth, the children of the Irish Chieftains - and even they themselves - had to learn the hard way to live with dignity and going through dire straits. The same destiny, or even a harder one, was suffered by the Irish folks who stayed behind. I am happy that this has changed nowadays. It really was about time.

Having seen the exhibition that commemorated the way of the Earls through Switzerland, I somehow felt their call. It was a kind of certain genetical memory of the whole historical period, and being deeply moved, I wrote the poem you find below. Despite being who I am, English is not my mother tongue and it was not an attempt to create a good piece of literature. I just needed to express what I was feeling.

Knowing only too well what leaving home means, it has always been very moving for me to learn about the many Irish people (not only the Earls) who had to leave their wonderful country. I want to dedicate this poem to all those who had to leave the Emerald Isle and never returned.

The Flight of the Earls

It is moving all my senses
From beyond their voices call
It is feeling all their feelings
Their special way to show
For I feel for them their losses
Their fears, their pain, their shame.

Yet the hardest of it all
Was the dignity, their burden
Showing strength though falling apart,
Showing strength
To take each other’s part

But when lying in the darkness,
Burning tears they always felt
Rolling down their noble temples,
Burning like the magma burns

They had already been weeping
Before leaving, all of them
Missing all green springs, green meadows,
Kindness, loveliness and songs

They had already been missing
Salty air and cliffs and friends,
Freshness of the humid forests,
All the beauty of the lakes
Yet the feelings grew stronger
On their way with no return

All the stones of their castles
Cried with bitterness the day
When the flock took off from Kinsale,
When their noble people left.

He had dammed himself for kneeling.
How he felt the shame again!
There it bit him deep and deeper,
There his soul felt too much pain.

Oh the winter is long over
And the spring has come again
But in Rome the hope was over
And the flock had lost its way

Now the North has changed the leaders
And their children live away
They all carry their burden
How I wish they could return.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Celtic Days

In darkened days, long swallowed
by the ever hungry jaws of time,
the ancestors of our clans
fought endless wars and battles
with enemies of our faith and clime.

They won, and lost, and won again
in everlasting struggle for the truth,
and for the rights and lives of people,
entrusted to their care, from seasoned
warriors to the flowers of their youth.

For centuries the thunders rolled
across the island and her fields and hills,
the shades of green and brownish rocks
were often stained with bright red spots
of blood a fighting army always spills.

And then Peace ruled again, with joy,
with poems, music, songs and dances,
with lavish feasts and drinking wine,
while mighty fires burned above the glade
all night for happy people's glances.

They plowed fields and milked their cows,
each day to serve their Gods and Masters;
worked and played, and loved and laughed;
they fought and died, when asked to do,
and overcame their famines and disasters.

Those days of Celtic strive and bliss
have long now gone to where we all will go,
but still their memories keep living on
in hearts and minds, in lore and stories
that we tell when open winter fires glow.

They give us spirit to survive with honour,
to make ends meet without too many frowns,
fight swordless battles of the modern times
and win the plastic trophies now on offer
in place of silver rings and golden crowns.

Where once the groves of oak and ash
stood proudly, to honour Gods and give
great pleasure to the Druids' hearts,
a motorway leads to industrial estates,
telling a tale of loss, but lets us live.

Few people now are sure where they are
going and what life has for them to bear,
but Celtic souls are souls of heroes
who love and fight, and drink and play,
and will survive the shame and snare

laid out by heartless foreign hunters,
employed by faceless men of greed.
The ancestors might long be dead now,
but we still live, to honour Nature,
to fight the darkness, and - succeed.

By Francis de Roëlman

Monday, 17 March 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

To those we had to leave behind in Ireland my best wishes and a

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

God bless you all!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Here's to you and happy birthday!

Lost in the fog of a kingdom of magic
hearing the songs
feeling the loss

Moving ahead across the streams of the stars

flowing along
glowing among

the golden dreams of the God and the Goddess
blessing the folks
kissing the rose

Friday, 25 January 2008

What a time it was! What a time it is!

Their eyes so bright
full of light and innocence
looking for loving care

Their smile so wide
fresh like the new born leaves
in the clean air of the spring

Their soul so huge
living between here and beyond
in an own world of magic and dreams

Many voices raise nowadays about the future of the planet, we all seem to be concerned and worried because of the developement of the enviromental problems. It is indeed a serious matter and it is good to see some reactions to "slow down" the now certain effects of the global warming.

Anyway there's something about us, mankind, our way of life, our social and political environement much more worrying than that. If we really want to think of the future, of the world next generations are going to heritate, we should really start thinking about those generations themselves. Why are we so obviously ignoring the state of our children and youth? Anorexical young girls, suicide rates, violence and drugs, border line, bulliying and mobbing at schools (or even amok cases), consumerism, school failure, teenagers falling dead at their computers, and a long range of less impressive symptoms of lack of mental health have become a usual part of the news.

What's happening to our children? Who is to be blamed? How long is it going to take until we realise that the real problem is not that there is no future for them but that there is no future without them? When is our society going to react? Are we also going to try and "slow down" this process as well when it is already irreversible?

Women aren't aware of the power they have always had through raising their children. It has always been one of the most important asignements of the society and yet I guess anyone saying they should stay at home and take care of the little ones would be considered to be an enemy of women emantipation. What a lie!

When I remember my own chilhood and compare it with the childhood nowadays I see substancial changes that could explain why our kids are growing sick at heart. I have already mentioned the most important one, there was a mother there, women assumed their role and were non stop in charge. But there have always been motherless children who were able to develope.

In fact it is our way of living drifting appart from Nature that is causing the most important damage. But even though there are several possibilities to adapt and we could have made the best out of it. If we consider the whole and remember how we lived we'll see some important differences. I still remember playing ring a ring in big groups singing and laughing, those songs have turned into beeping and the group life into isolation. Regarding the toys, we used to have teddy bears and sweet dolls. Nowadays our children play with "monsters", ugly plastic creatures which could be a product (and for sure cause) of nightmares. Instead of party games there's screens (again in isolation) offering more blood than wit, instead of movement, sitting.
How long are we going to wait for better times to come, instead of doing something? I am conviced there are plenty of us keeping their eyes wide open. I do believe in the human evolution. I couldn't live without this hope.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Ceid Mile Fáilte! (A hundred thousand welcomes!)

This window you now find here opened is sort of magic anyway. Like every window it may bring some light and fresh air in but also take them out (and that is indeed the most special part of it). Being besides world wide opened it will allow me to call out loud my thoughts and let the wind carry them away all over our beautiful blue planet but also to hear the voices of the unexpected guests. Be welcome and enjoy the well known Irish hospitality of a soul willing to share the hope to gather those who want to change the world, a wild goose whose flock was once dispersed and chased away, a heir of the eternal values all human heroes defend. Feel free to let here the flowers of your thoughts for all of them.