Generational chasm — 5 Comments

  1. How bizarre. I too often recite An Irish Airman silently to myself while waiting or walking. I think it may have come from the album of musical interpretations of Yeats’s poetry. The Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Shane MacGowan did their version of An Irish Airman.
    The other poem I do not know. But Valparaiso has long been one of those place of the imagination for me. My knowledge of it is slight – sea shanties, young Che’s visit on his motorbike trip – but some day I will see the sloping streets of that port.
    My own daughter tends to sing one or two verses, of her own composition I think, before going to sleep at night. When I hear the brief song it’s as though a window to some elfin otherworld has briefly opened. It’s lovely.

  2. I’m not sure about McGowan and poetry recitation!

    Here’s Saint John Gogarty’s original:

    A ship from Valparaiso came,
    And in the bay her sails were furled.
    She brought the wonder of her name,
    And tidings from a sunnier world.

    ‘O you must travel far, if you
    Would sail away from gloom and wet,
    And see beneath the Andes blue,
    Our white umbrageous city set’.

  3. valparaiso was a poem i was taught many years ago(approx 45 years ago)it was on the mandatory irish language exam list.
    To this day i still remember this beautiful poem in the irish language,as it conjured up beautiful images of far off places,where the sun is always shining,and people travelling from one continent to another,the majestic andes mountains.The sheer escapism of the poem was a great joy to me back then,when all other irish literature was doom and gloom-ie peig,jimin,and the other irish literary merchants of doom,who could not see further than their back yard or the fighing that existed not only between neighbours,but also within families.
    I would not worry about somebody reciting this,they like me are probably escaping the troubles of the real world that surround them,and living a nice sunny fantasy ,its only for a brief respite from reality.

  4. I think having the Irish language would be a great gift – I haven’t a word. It would give a parallel vocabulary with which to think about a world that is different from what surrounds us. A friend blames Peig for the marginalisation of the language. My daughter has ‘Harry Potter agus an Orchloch’ amongst her books – an attempt to bring Irish back to the mainstream.

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