Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

63205“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy. – William Butler Yeats

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone!

I hope you have a great day and don’t forget to wear something green!

This is one of my favorite Irish Songs: The Bricklayer’s Song, written by Pat Cooksey:

Dear Sir I write this note to inform you of my plight
And at the time of writing I am not a pretty sight
My body is all black and blue, my face a deathly gray
I write this note to tell why Paddy’s not at work today

While working on the fourteenth floor, some bricks I had to clear
And to throw them down from off the top seemed quite a good idea
But the gaffer wasn’t very pleased, he was an awful sod
He said I had to cart them down the ladder in me hod.

Well clearing all those bricks by hand, it seemed so very slow
So I hoisted up a barrel and secured the rope below
But in my haste to do the job, I was too blind to see
That a barrel full of building bricks is heavier than me.

So when I had untied the rope, the barrel fell like lead
And clinging tightly to the rope I started up instead
I took off like a rocket and to my dismay I found
That half way up I met the bloody barrel coming down.

Well the barrel broke my shoulder as on to the ground it sped
And when I reached the top I banged the pulley with me head
I held on tight, though numb with shock from this almighty blow
And the barrel spilled out half its load fourteen floors below

Now when those building bricks fell from the barrel to the floor
I then outweighed the barrel so I started down once more
I held on tightly to the rope as I flew to the ground
And I landed on those building bricks that were scattered all
around.

Now as I lay there on the deck I thought I’d passed the worst
But when the barrel reached the top, that’s when the bottom burst
A shower of bricks came down on me, I knew I had no hope
In all of this confusion, I let go the bloody rope.

The barrel being heavier, it started down once more
And landed right on top of me as I lay on the floor
It broke three ribs and my left arm, and I can only say
That I hope you’ll understand why Paddy’s not at work today.

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Quote of the Weekend

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I wanted to share two descriptive scenes I wrote describing Irish Punk music:

(The Setting: Glory, a woman fresh out of an abusive relationship, goes to see an  Irish Punk band.)

They wove their way across the dance floor to the front of the stage.  All the lights went out leaving the luminescent glow of black lights captured in eerie smiles and t-shirt logos.  A strange chill crept up Glory’s back.  She felt exposed.  What if Mase came up behind her in the dark?  What if he touched her? Cold sweat broke out on her skin.  She curved her shoulders in, protecting herself.

A drum beat startled her.  It hammered out a solid rhythm.  Glory’s blood pulsed with the beat, stronger and stronger driving away her fear.  One light came on.  It drew every eye to the stage.  Travis sat on a huge speaker with a large round drum in his lap.  He hammered out a quick tempo as the spotlight lit him up.  The small, double-headed stick blurred in his trained hand as he pick up speed.  Someone in the back cheered.  The music spread over Glory.  She couldn’t stop a smile.

Travis glanced up, locked eyes with her, and winked.  Glory swayed with his drumming.  He played faster and faster.  Images of rocky highlands, gray sky, and a cool wind tugging her hair washed over her.  One by one the other band members came out and joined their instruments with Travis’.  Everyone on the floor danced.  The music leapt off the stage.  It wasn’t body rubbing music.  It wasn’t techno music.  It wasn’t sleepy or hate-filled.  It was life music.  It was drinking, fighting, loving, poverty, wealth, God, and country.  This was a green land with good strong people who found their pride in being the underdog.  This was sacrilegious, spiritual, and earthy.  This was  a woman who stuck by her man and worked just as hard as he did.  This was people always looking for a better life and always read to tell a tale to make you think life was better.  This was fathers, husbands and highwaymen, vagabonds and scoundrels.  This was mothers, maids, crowns, lovers, sisters and whores.  This was Irish in its body and blood.

Fred sang with a thick accent.  Steve ran his bow over his fiddle and it danced for him.  Rob’s recorder sent a longing deep into Glory’s bones, while Kerry’s violin recalled bombs and modern trials.  Kerry danced around Jamie’s heavy bass grounding them all to the good green earth.  In the middle of the band, more Irish, more green, more ready to walk the craggy hills, sat Travis beating his drums in some primeval, tribal call.  All around, in and through their music Glory danced.  Jigs and moshing melded.  Bodies throbbed. People clapped and laughed.  This music was life.

(After Travis learns what Mace, the abusive boyfriend, did to Glory.)

The music began again, but this time Kerry played in the lone spotlight.  One by one, the others joined her violin. The raucous rebellious, resentful music swelled.  Beneath the heart-stomping beat rose anger.  Anger throbbed and pounded in Travis’ drums.  It beat and beat against the crowd with a deep-seated hatred of those who betray trust, those who enslave, those who hurt and lie.  It wept for those who suffer at the hands of stronger men and its tears turned to power.  The rawness could rip apart families, homes, and nations.  It could travel across oceans, time, and flow even in the most deluded blood lines.

Glory watched Travis’ eyes. They sparked with a fury given life in his drums.  They captured her. They held her differently than how Mase had held her captive with his belittling and beatings.  But they also held her in the same way – caged in anger.  The drum beat loudly in her heart against her ribs and reverberating through her womb.  Glory turned and forced her way through the crowd.  She made her way out of the room.  For the second time in her short life she walked away from love as it turned into abuse.

– Abby Jones

(I don’t know if I’ll every do anything with Glory, but Travis has his own story to tell.  I’m not sure where I’ll put this description of Travis’ band, but some day I hope to have it in a book.)