Some for the road —

“Sun” by Micheal O’Siadhail

(I believe he read this poem at the reading we attended)

A fireball I cannot hold a candle to —
Light-years more giving, ample and rife
With desire, magnolia chalice of body

I touch petal by petal and undo.
Like an overcoat a wife must last a life
My poor sober father had cautioned me.

Paced madness . Patient furnace of sun.
Shape me, kiln me, cast me, love me,
Mate, mistress, queen, courtesan, in one.

Our naked nothing. Wing-giving delirium.
All caution to winds and kings of Jericho,
In Rahab’s window tie a crimson thread.

Jag of bliss. Drowsed and overcome
My life for yours. Ravish me! I grow,
I sweat, I ripen in your pleasured bed.

“Homing” by Micheal O’Siadhail

Longbow years of longing
Bends an arc’s wooden U.
Tenser stretch, fiercer shoot.

An arrow rigs a violent route
Gathering into a shaft of yew
Dreamed eye of a golden ring.

Cupidinous. Desire overdue.
A goose cock-feather quivering. No hard-to-get. No pursuit.

Come what may. Coute que coute.
I finger a silk-whipped string.
My life takes aim for you.

O Eros ravish and enlarge us.
Just to gaze, to listen, to mingle.
Sweet fusion. Carnal relish.
Break me again with outlandish
Desire my prowling Mademoiselle.
The arrow of our time discharges.

A shaft so full of amorous remembering,
Deja vu of yearning’s consummate fit
As I stoop to fondle a hollow in your nape.

As if such hunger coiled up in a man
Wakes some reminiscence we relearn,
I kiss in your flesh your spirit’s kiss

Like Hermes’ son fallen for Salmacis.
Our nature divides only to return.
I’ve known you since the world began.

A woman’s desire now bends to shape
The long elucidation of my spirit.
An arrow homes into its golden ring.

July 12 and the Orange Day Parade

The other day in class an allusion was made to Orange parades — something that no one really seemed to be too familiar with. It was not, however, the class’s absence of knowledge that attracted me to the topic. Likely it was an over-indulged taste for the perverse and provocative. When Professor McInerney alluded to the destruction often characteristic of these parades while coyly skirting around the specific details of such destruction my curiosity was peaked. I’m a big fan of documentary film, and in this great age of media the first thing that came to mind when searching for information on this topic was, therefore, a visual. I had in mind one particular news source — Vice. For those of you who know Vice I’m sure it comes as no surprise when I made a mental connection between it and the in-class allusion to Orange parades. Vice’s affinity for obscure research and off-the-wall reporting spanning all corners of the globe and an infinite range of social, political, and economic topics made me think that it might have done a piece on the Orange parade riots. I was right. Below I’ve included the links to two Vice videos (Parts 3 and 4 of a short, four part series on Belfast) that provide very up-front, in-your-face first hand documentation of these riots. Parts 1 and 2 of the Vice series also exist if you are curious to watch them. However they do not deal as directly with the parades themselves.

Part 3 of the series concerns itself more with the day’s preparations leading up to the actual parade, while Part 4 documents the parade itself. Tension in these clips has been caused by the Orange Order’s decision to march its parade through the predominantly Catholic district of Ardoyne in Belfast. I’ve also included a longer, BBC produced documentary if it might interest you (though speaking honestly I have not watched it).

Before watching the videos, a little background history. Orange parades are organized and sponsored by the Orange Institution (also known as the Orange Order). It is a Protestant, fraternal organization based in Belfast whose original purpose upon its founding was the commemoration of William III (William of Orange) — a Dutch Protestant king who defeated the Catholic king of England and Ireland, King James II, in the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Both were rivals and argued a claim to the English, Scottish, and Irish thrones. The battle itself took place on July 11, 1690 according to the Gregorian calendar. Orange parades take place year-round, with the largest and most recognized of these parades traditionally taking place on July 12 in celebration of this battle and the victory of William III. Though on a certain level the parades act as platforms on which Protestants in Ireland might connect with and assert a form of their own identity, they are also, in a much more serious light as the videos will show, a reoccurring source of resounding indignation and resentment between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland.


Like Memoirs??


If the break finds you in withdrawal and in major need of a Celtic reconnection, pick up Angela’s Ashes. The memoir, for which author Frank McCourt won a Pulitzer Prize, was published in 1996. It chronicles the impoverished childhood of McCourt while growing up in Limerick, Ireland. Though born in New York to Irish parents, McCourt and his family relocate back to Ireland during his early years, where he spent the rest of his childhood and teenage years. These years living in Ireland are documented in the pages of Angela’s Ashes. Both sad and humorous, the story winds its way through the early lives of McCourt and his family, and although denounced by many Irish as hyperbolic, it propelled itself onto the best-sellers list upon publication. McCourt also published two additional memoirs, ‘Tis (1999) and Teacher Man (2005). ‘Tis follows McCourt’s life after Angela’s Ashes, at the end of which he returns to New York. Teacher Man details McCourt’s experiences teaching in the New York public school systems. McCourt died from cancer in 2009 in Manhattan.


Below I have listed, for your interest, a New York Times obituary-styled article about McCourt and a more detailed description of his work published in 2009 following his
death. I’ve also provide a link to an interview McCourt gave where he discusses Angela’s Ashes.

Happy reading!