HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

St Pat's

May your day be filled with love and laughter

and may all your dreams come true

 may it be what you’re runnin’ after

is the best thing ever for you.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona ~ Happy St. Patrick’s Day ~ RG

17 The Paddy Settriskele.2

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Ireland’s Shore

Happy St. Patrick's Day!Before I ever visited Ireland, I wrote a poem about it. This was many years before I sat foot on Ireland’s Shore.  The irony of this poem is that it came to me in a dream, and the ending is very much how I felt when I left Ireland twenty years later. My children drew my back to America, but Ireland calls to me still.

 

Is féidir teacht ar do aisling fíor. – May your dreams come true. – RG

Ireland’s Shore

 

Warm fire upon the ocean

Cool stars up in the sky

Arms reach out to enfold her

Draw her near to Ireland’s shore.

 

Strong oak all but forgotten

Ghosts on the barren, rock strewn land

Call her name, but just a whisper

Draw her near to Ireland’s shore.

 

Soft mist entwines the cliffs

The harp sounds low and sweet

Whispers echoed by pipe and flute

Draw her near to Ireland’s shore.

 

Pulsing tempo of the music

Her heart quickens to the beat

Sings to her a song of yearning

Draw her near to Ireland’s shore.

Bards and poets call to her

Their voices plead incessantly

Stir the longings of her soul

Ever nearer to Ireland’s shore.

 

Firm earth beneath her feet

This moment long awaited

Standing on ancestral ground

Finally reaching Ireland’s shore.

 

She feels the ages light a flame

The passion flows, in her ancestral blood

Tales of ancient days

Hold her fast to Ireland’s shore.

 

Bright the dawn, sad the morn

Tears course and tear her soul

She bids farewell with one last glance

So disappears Ireland’s shore.

© Ireland’s Shore – copywrite – RG Calkins 1978

A Taste of Ireland ~ Guinness is Good for You!

shamrocksI’d like to share a recipe that’s become one of my favorites. Here is America, we’ve become used to corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, but I like to go a little bit more traditional with:

IRISH STEW

You can use lamb or beef for this stew. My preference is lamb. Serve with steamed cabbage and dark or whole grain bread.

8 bacon strips, cut in small pieces

1/3 Cup all-purpose flour

A teaspoon of salt (I use Kosher salt)

A half-teaspoon pepper (I like cracked pepper)

3 pounds of meat (lamb or beef), cut into bite sized pieces

1 pound of fresh mushrooms, quartered

3 leeks, chopped (use white part)

2 medium carrots, chopped

¼ Cup celery, chopped

A Tablespoon of vegetable, canola, or olive oil (your preference)

4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

A Tablespoon of tomato paste

4 Cups of beef broth (I use reduced fat/sodium, your preference)

1 Cup Guinness Stout (if you don’t want to use stout, add more broth)

2 bay leaves

A teaspoon of the following: thyme, parsley, rosemary (crushed)

2 pounds potatoes, in bite sized pieces (Yukon gold or red is best)

2 Tablespoons each; corn starch & cold water

Optional: add a Cup of frozen peas and/or corn

Using a stew pot:

Cook the bacon until brown and crispy.

While the bacon cooks, put flour, salt and pepper into a large, zip-lock bag and a little at a time, coat the meat by shaking in the mixture.

Remove bacon from the pot (slotted spoon is best to leave grease behind) and drop the meat into it to brown.

Once the meat is browned remove it with the bacon.

Add the oil and sauté the mushrooms, leeks, carrots and celery until tender.

Add garlic and sauté a couple minutes more.

Stir in the tomato paste and blend, and then add broth, beer, bay leaves and other herbs.

Return meat and bacon to the pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 2 hours.

At time, add potatoes and simmer 1 hour longer or until potatoes are tender.

Combine the corn starch and water, mix until smooth and stir into the pot.

Bring back to a boil and cook, stirring until broth is thickened.

At this point, remove bay leaves and if you want, add peas and/or corn and let them heat through until tender.

Makes approx. 12-15 servings, and is freezable.

 

Bain sult as! – Enjoy! – RG

Luck of the Irish!

This time of year there are all kinds of portrayals of leprechauns. Most of the silly, cartoon versions.

These are fairy folk, people. I think they deserve a little better representation. By definition they are mischievous fairies, no larger than a small child. And, I’ll prove it.

My Amazing Progeny!

LOL! This is my son Dillon, at age fifteen months. He’s now twenty-six and could probably pass for a larger version of his little leprechaun self.

Is Féidir luck agus grá a fhaigheann tú! – May luck and love find you! ~ RG

A Wee Bit of ‘Grave’ Irish Humor

skeleton St. Pat'sOkay. This is going to be a wee bit of shameless, self promotion. I’ve written several short stories and I would like to share one with you here.  It’s dark humor, which I hope you enjoy.

If you like dark, horror, paranormal, you can find this story, three more of mine, and many more author’s stories, in the Darker Times Anthology, Volumes One and Two. They’re available on Amazon.com US and UK (links will be provided below). The full poem, The Gravedigger’s Song, featured in this story, will be published in the Darker Times poetry and flash fiction anthology, which will be available later this year.

There, that’s it for the promotion bit. On with the story.

The Gravedigger ~ RG Calkins

Jack Sullivan strides across the cemetery lawn, shovel slung on his shoulder, a lantern swings from his hand. He sings a tune not known to most.

            When I was young my elders said,

            Don’t walk on graves, disturb the dead.

            This sounded strange, I questioned not

            Tiptoed ‘round each crypt and plot.

            The dead don’t mind if you dance on their bones

            They’re covered o’re with earth and stones

            None reside b’neath the ground

            Their souls are free, no longer bound.

     He reaches his destination and tips his cap. “Ah, now, Mr. Stewart. ‘Twas a nice service here today was it not?”

     “What was that bizarre lay you were bellowing?”

     Jack chuckles. “One passed from me grandda to me da to me.”

     Stewart huffs. “It’s irreverent and disrespectful.”

     Jack shoves his shovel into the pile of dirt at his feet. “Aye, to some ‘tis, but most folk laughs at it.”

     “That’s preposterous.”

     Jack continues to shovel steadily. “‘Tis the truth of it.”

     A woman approaches. Her pasty face sour and gait purposeful.

     Jack stops and tips his cap to her. “Evenin’ Mrs. O’Connor. Come to pay your respects have you?”

     “I’ve come to spit on t’ bastard’s remains, I have.” She comes closer and hawks a gob of spit toward the dirt.

     “Ah now, Missus is that any way to be?” Jack scoops more dirt in.

     “He was a thievin’ son of a whore.” She points a bony finger at him. “You know the truth of it Jack Sullivan.”

     “Aye, I know it well.” He says to the woman’s retreating back.

     “What a course and bitter woman.”

     Jack distributes more soil into the hole. “As you say, Mr. Stewart.” He pauses only to light his lantern.

Stewart squints into the dying light. “Sullivan, do you see that man striding toward us?”

“Aye, sir, I do.”

     “Is it All Hallows? He appears to have on a costume.”

     Jack peers at the young man. “Nay, ‘tisn’t Samhain and he’s not wearin’ a costume.”

     “By God, man,” Stewart exclaims, “then the boy’s been shot.”

     Jack, unconcerned, removes a flask from the back pocket of his pants. “Aye, I b’lieve he has.” He takes a pull from the pint size container.

     “Good evenin’ gents.” The lad says with a slight bow.

     Jack holds out the tin. “Nice to see you Finn, care for a drink?”

     “Ah, now, Mr. Sullivan, I can’t accept your hospitality, but I appreciate the thought.”

     Stewart looks appalled. “You, lad, go along to the hospital.”

     Finn’s pale face turns to Stewart. “There’s naught they can do for me, sir.” He peers at the now filled grave. “For him neither.” Finn throws his head back and howls with laughter as he takes his leave.

     “Mr. Sullivan, I think there is something amiss here.”

     Jack raises his eyebrows. “How do you mean, sir?”

     Stewart makes a grand gesture. “Why are all these people milling about a graveyard after dark?”

     Jack follows his gaze. “Because it’s their home.”

Stewart’s eyes are wide with fright. “Let us flee, man.” His voice quavers. “These apparitions may mean to do us harm.”

     Jack grins at Mr. Stewart. “I’ll be goin’ now, but as for you . . .” the sound of metal against stone draws Stewart’s attention.

     Stewart stares in disbelief at the newly chiseled headstone.

     “Good night, Mr. Stewart and welcome home.”

     Jack slings his shovel to its perch, picks up his lantern and crosses the turf.

            It occurred to me that ev’ry day.

            We walk the crust of death’s decay.

            It’s futile to pick up your feet,

Irish Graveyard

            When everywhere a corpse they meet.

           The dead don’t mind if you dance on their bones

            They’re covered o’re with earth and stones

            None reside b’neath the ground

            Their souls are free, no longer bound.

© Copywrite- The Gravedigger, RG Calkins, 2012

Is féidir leat rince! – May you dance! ~ RG

Now for those links (right click and select ‘go to address’ or copy and paste the link into the search bar):

US

Vol. 1 – http://www.amazon.com/Darker-Times-Anthology-Volume-One/dp/1481000985/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363042840&sr=8-1&keywords=jessica+grace+coleman+darker+times+anthology

Vol. 2 – http://www.amazon.com/Darker-Times-Anthology-Volume-Two/dp/1481971727/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1363042840&sr=8-2&keywords=jessica+grace+coleman+darker+times+anthology

UK

Vol. 1 – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Darker-Times-Anthology-Volume-One/dp/1481000985/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1363042718&sr=8-3

Vol. 2 – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Darker-Times-Anthology-Volume-Two/dp/1481971727/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363042718&sr=8-1

W. B. Yeats

WB YeatsMore than a few years back, I visited Ireland. While there, we stumbled upon the churchyard where W. B. Yeats is buried. I love graveyards and this was one of the most unique I’ve ever explored. But, enough about that.

My post today is in celebration of one of my favorite poets–W. B. Yeats. And, in particular, a favorite poem of mine.

The Stolen Child

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that dropp their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

William Butler Yeats
dancing fairies w.child

Besides the poem, I also wanted to provide a musical version of it. 12 The Stolen Child This is by The Waterboys, and has a place in my St. Patrick’s Day playlist.

Mise I dán agus ceol ~ Yours in poem and music ~ RG

Gettin’ My Irish On!

All this week I’ll be posting. Yes, you heard me–all week. I’m feelin’ my ancestry and I’m going to post something Irish everyday!

I’m starting the week with a repost of my St. Patrick’s Day playlist.

singing irish

Eireann           Afro Celt Sound System

Drunken Lullabies          Flogging Molly

The Broad Majestic Shannon          The Pogues

I’ll Tell Me Ma          The Young Dubliners

What’s Left of the Flag          Flogging  Molly

Dunford’s Fancy          The Waterboys

The Kilburn High Road          Flogging Molly

The Foggy Dew          The Young Dubliners

Shanne Bradley          The Pogues

The Paddy Set          Seven Nations

(No More) Paddy’s Lament          Flogging Molly

I’m Shipping of to Boston          Dropkick Murphys

The Irish Rover          The Pogues

Black Friday Rule          Flogging Molly

The Battle March (Medley)          The Pogues

Soft Gator Girl          Seven Nations

Stolen Child          The Waterboys

The Seven Deadly Sins          Flogging Molly

The Rocky Road to Dublin      The Young Dubliners

Grace O’Malley     The Dreadnoughts

She Moved Through the Fair          The Chieftains w/Sinead  O’Connor

I hope you will check out some or all of the above songs and artists. Here are a couple for your listening pleasure. One of them makes an appearance in my novel. 🙂

03 I’ll Tell Me Ma            10 Soft Gator Girl

Taitneamh a bhaint as ~ Enjoy!

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