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‘The Crocus’ – By Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe.

Extract from the poem “The Crocus” by abolitionist, poet and author Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe.
[Best known for her novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” published 169 years ago this March 20th, 2021, selling 300,000 copies in just 3 months.]

The Crocus
In blue and yellow from its grave
Springs up the crocus fair,
And God shall raise those bright blue eyes,
Those sunny waves of hair.
Not for a fading summer’s morn,
Not for a fleeting hour,
But for an endless age of bliss,
Shall rise our heart’s dear flower.

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Remember – Feast Of Saint Valentine Is Tomorrow.

Tomorrow of course is the Feast of Saint Valentine, celebrated annually on February 14th each year, as a minor Western Christian feast day.

The Feast of St. Valentine was first established by Pope Gelasius I in AD 496, to be celebrated on February 14th in honour of Saint Valentine of Rome. St. Valentine of Rome was believed to be a temple priest, who was executed outside the Flaminian Gate, in Rome, [on the Piazza del Popolo, which was a place for public executions], by the anti-Christian Emperor Claudius II. His crime was helping Roman soldiers to marry when they were forbidden to by the Christian faith at the time. He was executed on that same day, February 14th, in AD 269.

Tradition claims that St. Valentine as a prisoner restored sight to the blind daughter of his jailer. It is believed he afterwards wrote to the jailer’s daughter a letter, which he signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell before his execution.

Benedictine monks are believed to have spread the practise of honouring St. Valentine to England, France and Ireland.

True or not, woe betide any man who has forgotten to obtain at least some small gift token, in expression of their love, to those whom they hold ‘near and dear’, tomorrow.

While many would hold that the traditional Irish folk ballad, known by almost every Irish person, entitled “Spancil Hill(Spancilhill), is an authentic 19th-century Saint Valentine’s love letter, and indeed worthy of St. Valentine, the writer Michael Considine in his dream arrived in Spancilhill “on the 23rd of June, the day before the fair”, and not on February 14th.

The author of the poem Michael Considine (1850–73) was baptized on August 11th 1850, (Page No. 204, entry No. 6051, in the Roman Catholic Baptism register of the parish of Clooney, Bunratty Upper), and at an early age travelled on emigrant ship to the United States, and who in 1873, now longed to be back in his homeland, at ‘the Cross of Spancil Hill’, Co. Clare.

Like many others, initially he was escaping from a God forsaken Ireland, then crippled by the Great Potato Famine of 1845, having emigrated at the age of 20 years in search of a better life. He worked for a few years in Boston Massachusetts in the United States, before heading west to California in the hope of finding riches in the gold rush.
At the age of 23, he became ill and when he knew he was probably dying, he penned the poem “Spancilhill”, which later became a folk ballad. He posted his love poem to his young nephew in Ireland. Alas, Michael Considine died aged 23years, in 1873.

Spancil Hill Crossroads, named in the poem, exists in the townland of Castletown, Doora, Co. Clare in the barony of Bunratty Upper, County Clare. The word ‘spancil’ refers to the practice of “spancilling,” which was to use a short piece of rope or other stout material to tie an animal’s left fore-leg to its right hind leg, thereby preventing same from straying or wandering.

Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church, Dublin, today houses some relics of St. Valentine.

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“Christmas” By Tom Ryan

Christmas

Courtesy of Thurles Author & Poet Tom Ryan ©

It was still that night
Great things are born in stillness
And beginnings are of stillness born.
Nature held her breath in awe of a strange and beautiful thing.
Even then in other parts
The struggle of life and man raged,
And men wept and cowered in their dark thoughts .
But some dreamed
And a dream for eternity was born in Bethlehem.
Hope stole into the world
In a rustic stable,
And the light stole over the earth,
And dreamers saw it,
And it shone in their hearts.

END

Tom Ryan,“Iona”, Rahealty, Thurles, Co Tipperary

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Halloween Poem – My Creepy Costume.

‘My Creepy Costume’ – Courtesy Kenn Nesbitt

I came across this little video gem during the week, written by children’s Poet Laureate, Kenn Nesbitt.

Mr Nesbitt introduces his poem by stating, “For those of you who are looking forward to Halloween at the end of the month, I decided to release a brand new video, along with my newest poem, ‘My Creepy Costume.’ I hope you enjoy”.

So, was Mr Nesbitt really writing for just children in this case I ask myself or had he those more senior in mind? You decide.

Kenn Nesbitt is an American children’s poet. On June 11th, 2013, he was named Children’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation.

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You Don’t Get To Be Racist & Irish – Imelda May

Here is a powerful response to the recent historic events, which brought about large demonstrations in the Irish cities of Dublin, Galway and Cork, in the wake of George Floyd’s death caused by police in the US.

You Don’t Get To Be Racist and Irish

Poem by Irish singer, songwriter poet and multi-instrumentalist Ms Imelda May.

You don’t get to be racist and Irish
You don’t get to be proud of your heritage,
Plights and fights for freedom
While kneeling on the neck of another!
You’re not entitled to sing
Songs of heroes and martyrs
Mothers and fathers who cried
As they starved in a famine
Or of brave hearted
Soft spoken
Poets and artists
Lined up in a yard
Blindfolded and bound
Waiting for Godot
And point blank to sound
We emigrated
We immigrated
We took refuge
So cannot refuse
When it’s our time
To return the favour
Land stolen
Spirits broken
Bodies crushed and swollen
Unholy tokens of Christ, nailed to a tree
(That) You hang around your neck
Like a noose of the free
Our colour pasty
Our accents thick
Hands like shovels
From mortar and bricklaying
Foundation of cities
You now stand upon
Our suffering seeps from every stone
Your opportunities arise from
Outstanding on the shoulders
Of our forefathers and foremother’s
Who bore your mother’s mother
Our music is for the righteous
Our joys have been earned
Well deserved and serve
To remind us to remember
More Blacks
More Dogs
More Irish.
Still labelled leprechauns, Micks, Paddy’s, louts
We’re shouting to tell you
Our land, our laws
Are progressively out there
We’re in a chrysalis
State of emerging into a new
And more beautiful Eire/era
40 Shades Better
Unanimous in our rainbow vote
We’ve found our stereotypical pot of gold
And my God it’s good.
So join us.. ’cause
You Don’t Get To Be Racist And Irish
.

End

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