Tuesday, March 19, 2013

St. Patrick’s Day has passed with the same unfortunate results as often occurred in past years. It seems that the weather around the good saint’s day becomes unpredictable. Snow, ice or another sort of storm is not uncommon and many times in my experience plans for celebrations have been modified or cancelled. That happened last night. A number of us had planned our celebration  for the day after St. Patrick’s Day but the covering of slush that occurred during the daytime and the low temperatures in the evening changed our plans. Many who had intended coming backed out. Those of us who did come had a good time, but it was not what it should have been.

That caused me to think back over the many St. Patrick’s Days of past years and I remembered a poem I had written a long time ago. It’s not a great poem by any means, but it has stuck with me all this time so I’m going to post it today. It will serve to extend last night’s celebration a little.

It was near St. Patrick’s Day about fifty years ago that I saw an article in a magazine about Ireland. It was titled "The Gentle Green" and featured a photo of green fields leading down to a small Irish town. I liked the phrase “The Gentle Green” so I wrote this poem to honor the coming Saint’s day of that year. I never did anything with the poem so I suppose this is its debut. Anyway, here it is.

The Gentle Green

Walk softly, walk softly
upon the gentle green
that wanders down to Shannon’s shores
through Tulla and Cusheen.

Walk softly through the Kerry glens
and through each Connacht glade
for there beneath the Irish soil
Irish hearts are laid.

Walk softly through the fields of Mourne
where wee folk take their ease
for there the songs of Erin rise
to travel o’er the seas.

And Brennan stalks the moor again
O’Falloan makes his plea
and warriors tell of battles done
and battles yet to be.

And Irishmen in far-off lands
hear tales of toil and woes.
They hear a patriot’s warning
to all of Ireland’s foes.

They hear of war and famine
and a blue-bedecked caubeen
and life and love and laughter
in a land they’ve never seen.

And Irish hearts are lifted
and lofted far abroad
to rest among the mountains
on ancient Irish sod.

As on the hills of Cavan
the purple heather thrives
the gentle green of Ireland
lives in Irish lives.

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