Sunday, February 2, 2020

An Irish Lament

One day, when Gerry and I decide to buy a castle . . .
Maynooth Castle in 1885


In honor and memory of James Augustine Aloysius Joyce
born this day 138 years ago in Rathgar, Ireland
~ 2 February 1882 ~

Not forgetting
Candlemas, Imbolc, Groundhog Day, St. Brigid's Day,
and the birth of my oldest brother Dave in 1947!

Beautiful recipes for all feasts & seasons


A dramatic recitation of this poem, is included in The Dead,
a movie based on the final story in Joyce's Dubliners:

Donal Og [Young Donald]

It is late last night the dog was speaking of you;
the snipe was speaking of you in her deep marsh.
It is you are the lonely bird through the woods;
and that you may be without a mate until you find me.

You promised me, and you said a lie to me,
that you would be before me where the sheep are flocked;
I gave a whistle and three hundred cries to you,
and I found nothing there but a bleating lamb.

You promised me a thing that was hard for you,
a ship of gold under a silver mast;
twelve towns with a market in all of them,
and a fine white court by the side of the sea.

You promised me a thing that is not possible,
that you would give me gloves of the skin of a fish;
that you would give me shoes of the skin of a bird;
and a suit of the dearest silk in Ireland.

When I go by myself to the Well of Loneliness,
I sit down and I go through my trouble;
when I see the world and do not see my boy,
he that has an amber shade in his hair.

It was on that Sunday I gave my love to you;
the Sunday that is last before Easter Sunday.
And myself on my knees reading the Passion;
and my two eyes giving love to you for ever.

My mother said to me not to be talking with you today,
or tomorrow, or on the Sunday;
it was a bad time she took for telling me that;
it was shutting the door after the house was robbed.

My heart is as black as the blackness of the sloe,
or as the black coal that is on the smith’s forge;
or as the sole of a shoe left in white halls;
it was you that put that darkness over my life.

You have taken the east from me; you have taken the west from me;
you have taken what is before me and what is behind me;
you have taken the moon, you have taken the sun from me;
and my fear is great that you have taken God from me!

Translated from an anonymous 8th Century Irish poem
by Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory (March 1852 – May 1932)

Sung in Irish
See also: ArcPoetryMagazine

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