A Few Words About the Irish

A Poem and Some History
by Jeff Salter 

            Let me begin by saying my closest link to anything Irish is that I used to like the Boston Celtics more than any other NBA team and ‘The Quiet Man’ is one of my favorite movies.

            But I’ve known lots of folks with roots in Ireland.  One of them – a friend and former colleague – told me a single fact which inspired this poem, below.  It’s not my usual jest and pun — in fact, I find it quite poignant.

                         ——

 Colleen Remembers
by Jeffrey L. Salter

Her father still remembered …
                        and on stormy Saturdays
he would stare through the windows
crooning old, Hibernian ballads
that made his daughters
            cry.

At a certain age
Colleen no longer allowed
                        tears
to be sung from her.
But on inclement weekends
her eyes became cloudy
            for she could hear
even through her bedroom door.

After his daughters left,
there were still memories …
            and other morning showers.
Did Father still sing at the casement
with no one there
                        to listen?

Now Daddy is gone
and Colleen remembers:
            on rainy Saturday mornings
            he would gaze out at grey drizzle
            and sing his sad Irish songs
as she and her little sisters
                        wept.

Published:  Sunday at Four — Vol. 5 # 3  (Fall 1996)

                        ——

St. Patrick’s Day

            Now a quick word about the day itself.  [Borrowed heavily from wiki.answers.com]

            St. Patrick (originally Maewyn Succat) was born in Wales in 385 AD … or in Britain in 387 AD.  At age 16, Maewyn was kidnapped and sold into slavery.  After six years, he escaped from slavery to France, where he became a priest and (later) the second Bishop to Ireland.

            “He spent 30 years converting pagans to Christianity and established schools, churches, and monasteries across the country.  St. Patrick was said to have used a shamrock as a metaphor for the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) showing how three separate units could be part of the same body.  People began wearing shamrocks on their clothes to his sermons.  Green is the most recognizable color during this holiday as it represents spring, shamrocks, and Ireland.”

            The date of St. Patrick’s death (in 461 AD) is uncertain, but tradition places it on March 17th.  The holiday came (from Ireland) to America in 1737 and was celebrated in Boston that year.  Over 100 U.S. cities have St. Patrick’s Day parades with the biggest one in New York City.

—–

            Visit our group blog’s resident foxes here any weekday.  I’m the hound and I blog on Thursdays.

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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34 Responses to A Few Words About the Irish

  1. Lynn Rush says:

    Nice job on that poem. I enjoyed it!
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    Like

  2. danicaavet says:

    Great poem, Jeff.

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    Like

  3. Chris Bailey says:

    Thanks for the poem, Jeff. It works for me!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Chris. I’ve often wondered what her father was singing about. Or, at least which Irish songs he was singing.

      Like

  4. Love the poem, Jeff! Virtual pinch if you’re not wearing green! 🙂

    Like

  5. Melissa says:

    Yikes! Thanks for the reminder! LOL Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’ve always wondered how this got started. And thanks for sharing your poem. Great job! 🙂 Off to find something green!

    Like

  6. Great poem! I was wearing a pink sweater today but my daughter got all upset that my college students would pinch me. So I changed and am now safely wearing a green sweater. 🙂

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Likely a wise switch, Rebecca. If enough college students pinched, you’d be black and blue. Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  7. Daisy Harris says:

    How is it I only learned about this pinching thing yesterday? My kids informed me that you get a pinch if you don’t wear green. I grew up in NY, you’d think I’d know this. Of course, in NY everyone got pinched on St. Patty’s Day regardless of what they were wearing. 🙂

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      I grew up knowing about the pinch. And some of the girls in grade school gave particularly painful pinches.
      Where I used to work, a secretary pinched my arm one day and nearly brought tears. LOL

      Like

  8. Jerlyn Stone says:

    Wonderful poem Jeff. I had to slap a green label on my BLUE shirt today.

    Like

  9. everwriting says:

    Gwyl Dydd Padrig Sant hapus i chi, Jeff!

    Touching poem. Thank you.

    Great history of Padrig Sant too. Britain (from the Scottish Highlands to Cornwall and Brittany) was Wales at that time. Here’s another tale of St. Patrick http://lilydewaruile.wordpress.com

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Leigh. This poem is one of my favorites.
      I can’t quite translate the beginning sentence, but I’m guessing it’s something like “Good Day of Saint Patrick, have you, Jeff.”
      Thanks for the link. In my brief research, the Wales connection did not surface. I guess wiki, for one, didn’t scratch deep enough.

      Like

  10. jbrayweber says:

    Beautiful poem, Jeff, and great history lesson.
    Happy St. Patty’s day, my friend!

    Like

  11. Llewelyn says:

    Hazarding a guess, I’ll say the songs Colleen’s father sang were about loved ones who did not come home from the war, lovers who chose another, children gone too soon, mothers taken by illness, fishing boats that never came back, fathers who died trying to provide food for their families or brothers and sisters gone off to far lands to find work who never came home. They have had a great deal to make sad songs about but they somehow always manage to make music, sad or joyful. Your poem is quite touching. It could possibly be set to music as well.
    I ran across information today that says the color traditionally was associated with Saint Patrick was blue. And the Irish don’t wear green on this day! I had never thought about it before.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Glad you could make it, Llew! And thanks for posting a comment.
      Yes, I like your suggested song topics for Colleen’s father. I’ve often wished my colleague/friend [not named Colleen, by the way] could have told me what the songs were about. I’m not certain she knew; if she once knew, she didn’t remember.
      Actually, however, in the 20 yrs since I wrote this poem, I’ve often thought I like the poem better … NOT knowing. Or, to put it another way: if I knew what the father sang about, I think it would ruin the poem to specify. Better to let the reader fill in her/his own topics … just as you have done.
      Thanks again.

      Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Oh … I didn’t know St. Paddy had any connection to blue. Weird.

      Like

  12. Elaine says:

    Hey Jeff,

    I’m coming to this a day late, but I enjoyed the post 🙂 Hope you had a great St. Patrick’s Day and look forward to reading your Thursday blogs!

    Elaine

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Elaine. Glad to have you visit and hope to see you again next Thursday. Visit any other weekday and see what the Resident Foxes have to say!

      Like

  13. You, sir Hound, are quite talented! I enjoyed your post (and I learned something). And I happen to be wearing green AND blue today, so no one has to run me away with a stick. Good times! ;c)

    Like

  14. Love the poem- very nice. I did not wear green on the day although I am of partial Irish extraction. I prefer to be Irish all year, not one day! LOL!!

    Like

  15. jeff7salter says:

    … but can’t stand spinach!

    Like

  16. Pingback: Kiss the Blarney Stone | fourfoxesonehound

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