Tuesday, March 17, 2020

DIY St. Patty's Day celebration (home edition)

Lance Davis (parsonsose.org) edited by Dhr. Seven, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly

We don't have cowboys, but sheepboys.
Celebrating St. Paddy's Day at home? Pull up a chair then. Well yes, Parson's Nose Theatre (PNT) had to cancel its annual Irish Celebration spectacular. But it's not the end of the world, is it?

Parson's Nose Theatre has put together a taste of the event for your enjoyment. It's a "do it yourself" program this year. All you have to do it put a pie in the oven. Pour yourself a glass. And take turns reading and singing along. Before you know it, you'll be sitting in Eileen's public house in County Mayo, if only for a little while. With the help of the good lord we'll all be together again soon.

Irish history is the story of a people that refuse to be conquered. The Egyptians and the Romans passed right on by.

When the Romans left Western Europe in the 5th century, they left this part of the world to be divided by the Angles and the Saxons from Germany and the Jutes from Denmark.

The Angles won and imposed their will on their neighbors. They forced the Irish into slavery, a serfdom designed to strip their resources to supply the Motherland. As conquerors do they tried their best to destroy the Irish culture, even forbidding the native Gaelic language.

The Irish returned the favor by taking on the oppressor's language and improving it with their own poems and plays and songs. And that’s what we’re here to celebrate today!

Feel free to skip about and choose between songs, jokes, and poetry. Take a moment to enjoy the moment. It's an IRISH SINGALONG because everyone can sing on this special day!

In Dublin's fair city
where the girls are so pretty
I once met a girl named sweet Molly Malone
and she wheeled her wheel barrow
through the streets broad and narrow
crying cockles and mussels alive alive oh
Alive alive oh
alive alive ohh
Crying cockles and mussels
alive alive ohhh

She was a fish monger
and sure was no wonder
so were her mother and father before
and they wheeled their wheel barrow
through the streets broad and narrow
crying cockles and mussels alive alive oh

She died of a fever
and so one could save her
and that’s how I lost my sweet Molly Malone
But her ghost wheels her barrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying cockles and mussels alive alive oh

When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.

Who is the man who will spend or will even lend?
Harrigan, That's Me!
Who is your friend when you find that you need a friend?
Harrigan, That's Me!
For I'm just as proud of my name you see,
As an Emperor, Czar or a King, could be.
Who is the man helps a man every time he can?
Harrigan, That's Me!
H - A - double R - I - G - A - N spells Harrigan
Proud of all the Irish blood that's in me;
Divil a man can say a word agin me.
H - A - double R - I - G - A - N, U C,
Is a name that a shame never
has been connected with, Harrigan, That's me!

Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ra
Over in Killarney
Many years ago
My mother sang a song to me
In tones so soft and low
Just a simple, little ditty
In her good old Irish way
And I'd give the world if I could hear
That song of hers today
Too ra loo ra loo ral
Too ra loo ra li
Too ra loo ra loo ral
Hush, now don't you cry
Too ra loo ra loo ral
Too ra loo ra li
Too ra loo ra loo ral
That's an Irish lullaby

Oh, me name is MacNamara,
I'm the leader of the band
Although we're few in number,
we're the finest in the land
We play at wakes and weddings
and at every fancy ball
And when we play the funerals,
we play the March from Saul

Oh, the drums go bang and the cymbals clang
and the horns they blaze away
McCarthy pumps the old bassoon
while I the pipes do play
And Henessee Tennessee tootles the flute
and the music is something grand
A credit to old Ireland is MacNamara's band

Right now we are rehearsing for a very swell affair
The annual celebration, all the gentry will be there
When General Grant to Ireland came
he took me by the hand
Says he, I never saw the likes of MacNamara's Band

Oh, the drums….

Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side.
The summer's gone, and all the roses falling,
It's you, it's you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer's in the meadow,
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow,
It's I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow,
Oh, Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so

But when ye come, and all the flowers are dying,
If I am dead, as dead I well may be,
You'll come and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an Ave there for me.
And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me,
And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be,
For you will bend and tell me that you love me,
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me



(Read aloud with an Irish accent).The great writers of Ireland  are almost too numerous to mention. Joyce, Wilde, Beckett, it goes on and on. But near the top of the list is William Butler Yeats. A scholar, a Senator, playwright, occultist, poet, and founder, with Lady Gregory, of the Abbey Theater in Dublin.

The uninhabited Lake Isle of Innisfree was where Yeats wandered in the summers of his youth. He writes, "I had still the ambition, formed in Sligo in my teens, of living in imitation of Thoreau on Innisfree, the little island in Lough Gill, and when walking through Fleet Street, very homesick, I heard a little tinkle of water and saw a fountain in a shop-window which balanced a little ball upon its jet, and began to remember lake water. From the sudden remembrance came my poem.”

"The Lake Isle of Innisfree"
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Oscar Wilde's mum
Lady Jane Wilde was a self-educated wife, mother, poet, suffragette, and revolutionary, who wrote under the pseudonym Speranza, which mean "Hope" in Italian. She had three children, one of whom was Oscar Wilde.

The famine that swept Europe in the 1840s was particularly hard felt by the Irish. One of the few crops they were allowed to access – the others being exported to England – was the potato.

When it was blighted, so were its dependents. One of its characteristics was that the potato itself looked healthy until it was harvested. Then the black, empty core became apparent as it crumbled to the touch. Millions of Irish went starving.

Men, women, and children wailed until their voices grew silent. After roaming the countryside for better conditions, failing bodies were heaped in ditches along roadsides that served as mass graves. England offered no relief for "The Irish Problem" they caused.

"The Famine Year (The Stricken Land)"
Weary men, what reap ye? – Golden corn for the stranger.
What sow ye? – human corpses that wait for the avenger.
Fainting forms, hunger-stricken, what see you in the offing?
Stately ships to bear our food away, amid the stranger’s scoffing.
There’s a proud array of soldiers – what do they round your door?
They guard our masters’ granaries from the thin hands of the poor.

Pale mothers, wherefore weeping -- would to God that we were dead;
Our children swoon before us, and we cannot give them bread.
Little children, tears are strange upon your infant faces,
God meant you but to smile within your mother’s soft embraces.
Oh! we know not what is smiling, and we know not what is dying;
We’re hungry, very hungry, and we cannot stop our crying.

And some of us grow cold and white – we know not what it means;
But, as they lie beside us, we tremble in our dreams.
There’s a gaunt crowd on the highway – are ye come to pray to man,
With hollow eyes that cannot weep, and for words your faces wan?
No; the blood is dead within our veins – we care not now for life;
Let us die hid in the ditches, far from children and from wife;
We cannot stay and listen to their raving, famished cries –
Bread! Bread! Bread! and none to still their agonies.
We left our infants playing with their dead mother’s hand:
We left our maidens maddened by the fever’s scorching brand:
Better, maiden, thou were strangled in thy own dark-twisted tresses –
Better, infant, thou wert smothered in thy mother’s first caresses.
We are fainting in our misery, but God will hear our groan:
Yet, if fellow – men desert us, will He hearken from His Throne?

Accursed are we in our own land, yet toil we still and toil;
But the stranger reaps our harvest – the alien owns our soil.
O Christ! how have we sinned, that on our native plains
We perish houseless, naked, starved, with branded brow, like Cain’s?
Dying, dying wearily, with a torture sure and slow –
Dying, as a dog would die, by the wayside as we go.
One by one they’re falling round us, their pale faces to the sky;
We’ve no strength left to dig them graves – there let them lie.

The wild bird, if he’s stricken, is mourned by the others,
But we – we die in a Christian land – we die amid our brothers,
In the land which God has given, like a wild beast in his cave,
Without a tear, a prayer, a shroud, a coffin or a grave.
Ha! but think ye the contortions on each livid face ye see,
Will not be read on judgement – day by eyes of Deity?
We are wretches, famished, scorned, human tools to build your pride,
But God will take vengeance for the souls for whom Christ died!

Now is your hour of pleasure – bask ye in the world’s caresses;
But our whitening bones against ye will rise as witnesses,
From the cabins and the ditches, in their charred, uncoffin’d masses,
For the Angel of the Trumpet will know them as he passes.
A ghastly, spectral army, before the great God we’ll stand,
And arraign ye as our murderers, the spoilers of our land!

On Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, hundreds of ordinary Irish men and women, pointed out here by Yeats led by a military council of seven ordinary men, staged insurrections throughout Ireland in an effort to take advantage of England’s involvement in World War I to end the centuries of oppressive British rule. The uprising failed after five days. In all 485 were killed, 1,500 placed in prison camps, and most of the leaders were shot for treason. But “a terrible beauty was born.” The struggle had begun and would not end until Ireland was free.

"Easter, 1916" by William Butler Yeats
I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born!

That woman’s days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our wing├Ęd horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born!

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone’s in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven’s part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?

No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse—
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born!

"Death of an Irishwoman" by Michael Hartnett
Ignorant, in the sense
She ate monotonous food
And thought the world was flat,
And pagan, in the sense
She knew the things that moved
All night were neither dogs or cats
But hobgoblin and darkfaced men
She nevertheless had fierce pride.

But sentenced in the end
To eat thin diminishing porridge
In a stone-cold kitchen
She clenched her brittle hands
Around a world
She could not understand.

I loved her from the day she died.
She was a summer dance at the crossroads.
She was a cardgame where a nose was broken.
She was a song that nobody sings.
She was a house ransacked by soldiers.
She was a language seldom spoken.
She was a child’s purse, full of useless things.

Indian Summer by Eileen Carney Hulme
Like a deep blue wave of passion, you shore into the room where I sit waiting quietly, open-booked.

We have moved through days, loss, pain, to hold this moment,
this picture postcard seascape of gentle harboring.

You say ‘I knew you were here. I could smell you’
and effortlessly I sway to seal my fate.

You taste of ocean, avenues of grassy dunes,
like a magician you pluck a tiny pebble from my hair-

Ancient survivor, sun-kissed on this summer afternoon,
unconditionally I step out of my dress
into your dream.


There's nothing like Irish humor. Humor is the weapon of the oppressed. They say that when the Grand Recession hit in 2007 the Irish, fresh from the great economic boom of the 1990s, smoothly returned to the pubs and the lifestyle of "doing without" they had known well for hundreds of years, to wait it out. We can learn a lot from the Irish. Have a sip after each of the following. It won't make the joke any better but fuel a sense of hope for the next one.

One night on a dark Irish country road an Englishman and an Irishman were driving recklessly and collided, demolishing their cars. Amazingly, the two men emerged from the wreck unscathed. Astonished by their luck, both agreed to set aside their dislike of each other.

The Irishman fetched a bottle of Jameson’s and handed it to the Englishman, who removed the top and hefting the bottle cried, “May the English and the Irish live forever in peace!” He then took a hearty swallow, draining half the bottle before offering some to the Irishman. “Oh, no thanks,” the Irishman says, “I’ll just wait for the police.”

A married couple in their 60s are visited by a fairy who grants them each a wish.

“I want to travel around the world with my darlin' husband,” says the wife. “Then I want to live in a luxurious holiday home in Kerry.” Just then two tickets for a luxury cruise magically appear in her hand, along with a set of new keys.

The husband says, “Sorry love, but my wish is to have a wife 30 years younger than me.” The fairy waves her wand and the husband becomes 92.

A married couple has their baby delivered at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, known all over Europe for its medical advances.

Upon their arrival, the doctor says he’s invented a new machine that'll transfer a portion of the mother’s pain to the baby’s father. He asks if they might be willing to try it out. They're both very much in favor of it.

The doctor sets the pain transfer to 10%, explaining that even 10% is probably more pain than the father has ever experienced. However, as the labor progresses, the husband feels fine and tells the doctor to "go ahead and kick it up a notch.”

The doctor adjusts the machine to 20%. The husband is still feeling fine. They decide to try for 50%. The husband continues to feel well, and since the transfer was obviously helping the wife considerably, the husband encourages the doctor to transfer all the pain to him.

The wife delivers a healthy baby boy. She and her husband are ecstatic. When they get home, the milkman is dead in their driveway.

A man doing market research knocks on a door. He's greeted by a young woman with three small children running around at her feet.

He says, “I’m doing some research for Vaseline. Have you ever used the product?”

She says, “Yes. My husband and I use it all the time.”

“And if you don’t mind me asking, ma'am, what do you use it for?”

“Oh, we use it for marital relations.”

The researcher is taken aback. “Well now, I do admire your honesty. Usually people lie to me and say that they use it on a bicycle chain, or to help with a gate hinge. But, in fact, we know most do use it for marital relations. Would you mind telling me exactly how?”

“Not at all. We put it on the door knob to keep the kids out.”

Flaherty staggered home very late after drinking with Finney. He took off his shoes to avoid waking his wife, Kathleen.

He tiptoed as quietly as he could toward the stairs, but misjudged the bottom step. He caught himself by grabbing the banister, but landed on his rump and broke a whiskey bottle in each hip pocket.

He looked in the hall mirror to see his butt cheeks were cut and bleeding.

He managed to find a box of band-aids and began putting a band-aid as best he could on each place he saw blood. Then he stumbled his way to bed.

In the morning, he woke up with Kathleen standing over him.

“You were drunk again last night weren't you?”

“Why would you say such a mean thing?”

“Well it could be the open front door. It could be the broken glass at the bottom of the stairs. It could be the drops of blood trailing through the house. But mostly, it's all the band-aids stuck on the hall mirror!”

O’Hara had a rare job interview with a major British computer company. When the interview was over, the snarky interviewer says to him all applicants had to complete a test. He takes a piece of paper and draws six vertical lines, in pairs of two and places it in front of O’Hara.

“Please show me, if you can, a clever way to make this into nine.” After thinking a bit, O’Hara draws a canopy of leaves on top of the three pairs of lines and hands the paper back.

The interviewer looks at the drawing and says, “But that’s not nine.”

“Oh ya,” says O’Hara, “Tree plus tree plus tree make nine.”

The interviewer hands back the paper. “Hmm. But can you make it 99? O’Hara scribbles up and down the trunks. The interviewer looked at the drawing, “But that’s not ninety-nine.”

“Oh ya,” says the Irishman, “Dirty tree plus dirty tree plus dirty tree make 99.”

The interviewer was now steamed. He hands the paper back, “But can you make it 100?”

O’Hara grabs the pencil and draws a little blop on the bottom right-hand side of each and hands it back, “Dirty tree and a turd, plus dirty tree and turd, plus dirty tree and a turd, make a 100. When do I report, sir?”

Kevin fears his wife Mary isn’t hearing as well as she used to and might be needing a hearing aid. Not quite sure how to approach her, he calls the family doctor.

The doctor tells him, "There’s a simple test you can do at home: Stand 40 feet away and in a normal, conversational tone, see if she hears you. If not, go 30 feet, and then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response.”

Later when Kevin gets home from the pub, he sees Mary in the kitchen cooking dinner. He thinks, “I’m about 40 feet away. Let’s see what happens.” In a normal tone he asks, “Mary, my love, what’s for dinner?” No response.

He moves closer until he's 30 feet. “ Mary. What’s for dinner? I say!” Still no response.

He moves closer. "Mary, can ye be tellin’ me what the hell’s for dinner?!” Still nothing.

He goes right up to her, “Mary, Mary! Can ya' friggin be telling me what the hell’s for dinner?!"

She yells, “For feck’s sakes, Mr. Kevin O'Donahue, and for the fifth time...potatoes!”

A weeping Mrs. Murphy approaches Father O’Grady after mass. He asks, “What’s bothering you, dear woman?”

“Oh, Father, I’ve terrible news. My husband passed away last night.”

“Oh, Mary, that’s terrible! Did he have a last request?”

"He did, Father. He asked, ‘Mary, will you put down that gun?'”

All I said was I order you to clean the house...
The first man marries a woman from Italy. He tells her that she's to do the dishes and clean the house. It takes a couple of days, but on the third day he comes home to a clean house with dishes washed and put away.

The second man marries a woman from Poland. He orders her to do all the cooking, the dishes, and the cleaning. The first day he doesn’t see any result. But the next day he sees it's better. And the third day he finds the house is clean, the dishes are done, and there's a fine dinner on the table.

The third man marries a woman from Ireland. He demands she keep the house clean, wash the dishes, do the laundry, mow the lawn, and cook three hot meals a day. The first day he doesn’t see anything. The second day he doesn’t see anything. But by the third day some of the swelling has gone down, and he can see a little out of his left eye. And his arm is healed enough that he can make himself a sandwich and load the dishwasher. He still has difficulty when he pees.

The Parting Glass
Of all the money that e'er I spent
I spent it in good company
And all the harm that e'er I've done
Alas, it was to none but me
And all good I've done, for want of wit
To memory now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all
And all the comrades that e'er I had
They’re sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e'er I had
They’d wish me one more day to stay

But since it falls, unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
Good night and joy be with you all.

There is a God! Molest and pray for delay.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
The rains fall soft upon the fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you
In the hollow of his hand.

Stay well. Wash your hands. If you’d like to make a donation to the PNT cause we wouldn’t say no. parsonsnose.org/donate

Cymbeline (Imogen)
A comic adaptation of Shakespeare's Cymbeline by Lance Davis runs from May 9 to 31, 2020. Preview show: May 8 (pay what you will). This comic fairy tale is for adults. Rustic, medieval England. A stubborn king, a wicked queen, and her brutish son. Brave and lovely Imogen, disguised as a boy, sets out into the Welsh wilderness to meet her banished lover. An often overlooked classic brought into PNT’s comic spotlight.

TICKETS: To order by phone, call (626) 403-7667. If there's no answer, please leave a message with your phone number to get a call back!

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