Thursday, August 23, 2012

Irish music and Australian poetry on Thursday night

Listening to Paul Brady and Liam O'Flynn's version of the Irish traditional song the Rocks of Bawn, (which appears on Liam O'Flynn's 1995 CD the Given Note), while reading the Australian poet Bruce Dawe's poem the Human Moment.

I could not find the version by Paul Brady and Liam O'Flynn but here is  a version by the Clancy Bros from their  1965 Live in Ireland Album.

The Human Movement
By Bruce Dawe

Most horrible of all: those undramatic
moments, when, from a war zone
an inhuman image haunts the mind,
when some insights into the phlegmatic
process of sheer prose speaks alone
to senses otherwise wrought numb and blind:
a bus load of forty Bosnian Muslim refuges being driven
behind Serb lines to an unknown destination, with
a bulldozer following close behind....

The Rocks Of Bawn
(Trad arr O’Flynn/Brady ..IMRO)

Come all you loyal heroes wherever you might be
Don’t hire with any master till you know what your work will be
For he will rise you early from the clear daylight till dawn
And you never will be able for to plough the Rocks of Bawn
Oh, rise up lovely Sweeney and give your horse some hay
and give him out a feed of oats before you start the day
Don’t feed him on soft turnips, take him to yon green lawn
And then he will be able for to plough the Rocks of Bawn
Well, my curse attend you Sweeney, you have me nearly robbed
you’re sitting by the fire side with your dúidín in your gob
Sitting by the fire side from the clear daylight till dawn
And you never will be able for to plough the Rocks of Bawn
Oh I wish the Queen of England would send for me in time
And place me in some regiment all in my youth and prime
And I’d fight for Ireland’s glory from the clear daylight till dawn
And I never will return again for to plough the Rocks Of Bawn

This description of the background to the song is from the website
The Rocks of Bawn" (Rocks of White) talks about Oliver Cromwell's invasion of Ireland in 1649 and the treatment of the Roman Catholics: In 1652, Oliver Cromwell "subdued" Ireland, a process that often recurred in history before and since. Many Catholic landholders were dispossessed and forced to take their families and belongings beyond the Shannon, to the hard country of Connaught. While English and Scottish Protestant newcomers settled on the lusher vacated farms, the dispossessed Irish hacked out a thin living among the "rocks, bogs, salt water and seaweed" of the barren west coast. In the ensuing centuries, to many a farm-hand even the British Army offerred better prospects than the stony plough-defying soil of Mayo, Galway and Clare. The lament of the Connaught ploughman has become one of the most popular of all Irish folk songs, seemingly within the last few years.

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