Monday, December 28, 2009
BLIAIN ÚR FAOI MHAISE DAOIBH
Walking on the Big Pool in the Bogmeadows
December 28th 09
BLIAIN ÚR FAOI MHAISE DAOIBH.
The water in the big pool at the Bog Meadows was frozen. So was Your Man.
So was I. We watched seagulls kiting down over the MI. They dipped over
the big pool and wheeled around gliding down to the water. Or the ice. It
was Saint Stephen's Day.
‘Yeeehaa’ Your Man chortled. ‘Luk at that’.
Instead of gracefully alighting into the pool the gulls skidded along the
icy surface, slipping and sliding into each other.
‘Slip sliding away, slip sliding away’ Your Man hummed.
‘I wonder what they think of the ice?’
‘They thinks its cold’ I replied, ‘and slippy’.
‘I know that’ he said as we made our way away from the waters edge and up
towards Saint Galls.
‘But they wud nivver have any experience of ice. Wud they?’
‘Unless they came from the Arctic’ I offered.
‘That’s a quare distance’ he mused.
‘Swallows go to South Africa’. I continued.
‘So does big Mick and wee Seamie’.
‘On a plane’ I parried, ‘Swallows fly on their own steam’.
‘Did you ever hear of the Yellow Bittern? he asked.
We stopped at the playing field to watch the Saint Galls crowd playing
what seemed to be a friendly game. Portly elders, athletic young men and
buxom young women chased each other and the ball around the pitch.
‘Good craic’ I observed. ‘Must be a friendly game’.
‘No such thing’ Your Man replied.
‘The Yellow Bittern’ I continued.
‘Or An Bonnán Buí. The Yellow Bittern was translated from the Irish by
Thomas MacDonagh, the 1916 leader’ I told him. ‘Cathal Buí Mac Giolla
Ghunna wrote it.
‘You are a bit of a know all’ he said peevishly. ‘a know all who knows …
all. I bet you cudn’t recite it!’
We went into Saint Galls.
‘A happy centenary year’ Your Man told the doorman. ‘Hope youse get to
Croker on Saint Paddys Day. Give us all a day out’.
‘The Bittern is a bogland bird.’ He continued over his pint ‘the poet
found it frozen in ice. The seagulls reminded me of that.’
He raised his pint.
‘Its actually a poem about the drink’ I advised him
‘The wee bird died trapped in the ice. It died of the thirst.’
‘Are you sure?’
I cleared my throat.
‘My darling told me to drink no more
Or my life would be o’er in a little short while;
I told her ‘tis drink gives me health and strength
And will lengthen my road by many a mile.
You see how the bird with the long smooth
Could get his death from the thirst at last
Come, son of my soul, and drain your cup,
You’ll get no sup when your life has past.’
‘Bully for you’ Your Man smiled at me. ‘You can take a man out of Saint
Finian's but you can’t take Saint Finian's out of a man.’
‘Only thing is the Christian Brothers never told us it was about the
drink. Or if they did we didn’t know what they meant.’
‘We know now’ he chuckled. ‘I hope the sea gulls are alright’
‘What do you think about the media?’ He continued.
‘Some of them’s alright’ I said. ‘And some of them are useless’.
‘I suppose it’s like builders, or plumbers or brickies. Or politicans. Some
of them is lazy or stupid or cudn’t care less. It only takes a few bad ones
to get all the good ones a bad name.’
‘Mind you’ he concluded ‘ I know loads of brickies and plumbers and
teachers and nurses. Good friends all. But I don’t know any media’.
‘I’ll tell you about the ones with their own wee agenda some other time,’
I smiled. They usually write for the Sunday World, the Sunday Times,
papers of that ilk. I stopped buying the Sunday papers about ten years
ago. A waste of a Sunday morning. Pages of half truths, opinions, bias,
lies. Better buying a decent novel’.
‘Sorry for your troubles’ Your Man said.
‘It goes with the territory’ I said.
‘Do you know any poems about buying your round’ he asked. ‘I feel like An
‘Here’s a happy New Year to you.’ He told me.
‘And you too. And the seagulls.’
‘And the media’ he retorted.
‘Bliain úr faoi mhaise daoibh’.
Out for a stroll