Happy Birthday William Henry Ogilvie

Ogilvie1

A Scotsman who spent 10 years ranching in Australia, Ogilvie was a friend of Harry (Breaker) Morant and another great horseman.  A bush poet; he is best remembered for his outback poems like the one below.   I have a special room in my heart for bush poets like Breaker Morant, Ogilvie, Banjo Patterson, Robert Service and Rudyard Kipling.  I love their songs of the wild road, open spaces, skies that go on forever and hearts set on adventure.

My Hat! ;by William Henry Ogilvie

The hats of a man may be many
in the course of a varied career,
and some have been worth not a penny
and some have been devilish dear;
But there’s one hat I always remember
when sitting alone by the fire,
in the depth of a Northern November,
because it fulfilled my desire.

It was old, it was ragged and rotten
and many years out of mode,
like a thing that a tramp had forgotten
and left at the side of a road.
The boughs of the mulga had torn it,
it’s ribbon was naught but lace,
an old swaggie would not have worn it
without a sad smile on his face.

When I took off the hat to the ladies
it was rather with sorrow than swank,
and often I wished it in Hades
when the gesture drew only a blank;
But for swatting a fly on the tucker
or lifting a quart from the fire
or belting the ribs of a bucker
it was all that a man could desire.

When it ought to have gone to the cleaners
(and stayed there, as somebody said!)
it was handy for flogging the weaners
from the drafting-yard into the shed.
And oft it has served as a dish for
a kelpie in need of a drink;
It was all that a fellow could wish for
in many more ways than you’d think.

It was spotted and stained by the weather,
there was more than one hole in the crown,
and it made little difference whether
the rim was turned up or turned down.
It kept out the rain (in a fashion)
and kept off the sun (more or less),
but it merely comanded compassion
considered as part of one’s dress.

Though it wasn’t a hat you would bolt with
or be anxious to borrow or hire,
it was useful to blindfold a colt with
or handle a bit of barbed wire.
Though the world may have thought it improper
to wear such old rubbish as that,
I’d have scorned the best London-made topper
in exchange for my old battered hat.

 

Cats

BomDem

Bombalurina (Esha Hourihane Clancy) Demeter (Naomi Ryan)

 

Just a quick post to capture a moment from last week when Phoenix productions in Thurles staged Cats.  An amazing performance that took many weeks of hard graft.  Thorough professionals.  This is not a youth musical society, this is Phoenix!

First and foremost this is a dancing show and the cast really stepped up to the plate.  The choreography was first class and would give Broadway a run for its money.  Of course I am a sucker for any show based on great poetry.

All the cats were great but Bombalurina (Esha Hourihane Clancy) was magnificent.  She and her partner in crime, Demeter (Naomi Ryan) were the pillar and post to every set piece in the show. But then I am biased.

 

Catnames

Cats

 

 

Happy Birthday Mark Knopfler

Knopfler

Back in 1977 Mark Knopfler and his brother David founded one of the iconic bands of my experience. Their eponymous first album, Dire Straits, is one of my favourites.  Mark was born on this day in 1949.

Mark went on to work in the film industry.  A lot of people I know have great nostalgia for “The Princess Bride”.  I wonder how many of them know that Knopfler was behind the score?

One of the top 100 guitarists in Rolling Stone Magazines list he is probably most famous for his use of the National Guitar in the “Making Movies” and “Love over Gold” albums.  I saw them in Punchestown during the Love Over Gold tour in July 1983.

A fingerpicking guitarist; Knopfler developed his playing style because when staying with some friends the only guitar he could get his hands on was a wreck with a warped neck.  He had to tune it slack and could only play by fingerpicking.

I will never forget the impact when they came on stage in Punchestown and opened with this one:

Bucket list #6

Dustbin

The latest installment in my bucket list thread is this rakish looking model, a large size plastic bucket with a weather proof lid complete with locking handles.  I need it for the chickens.  Well, really they are hens, laying hens.

I wanted my own fresh eggs, so I bought a henhouse and enclosed a chicken run.  It is equipped with suspended containers for water and feed.  The feed needs to be replenished regularly and it comes in very large 25 kilo bags.  The feed bag goes in the bucket, and it stays dry in all weather.  Each morning I refill the feeder from the bucket.

The weather proof locking handles double up to keep out varmints.  We don’t have to worry about raccoons or bears in Ireland but never underestimate the intelligence of a fox, a stoat, a rat a mouse or a crow.

The hens are working out well.  They are mostly Blackrocks, which is a first generation cross between Rhode Island Reds and Plymouth Rock Barred.  A couple of them are slimmer and have white feathers at the neck.  They are White Star crosses, which are Rhode Island Reds crossed with a Light Sussex.  I figure William Carlos Williams had either Light Sussex or possibly Leghorns, but he is never so specific is he?

Currently we get 5 to 6 eggs a day from 6 hens.  That will tail off come winter, but a light I installed in the coop should prevent a complete drop off.

Hens are great for reducing your garbage load as they eat all your food scraps.  They then produce copious amounts of good manure which goes to the vegetable garden, to produce more food.  Should they stop laying for any reason there is always a recipe for coq au vin…….

 

The Red Wheelbarrow; by William Carlos Williams

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

Happy Birthday Sara Teasdale

A fatalist poet, Sara Teasdale may be most famous for her poem “I shall not care” which many people mistakenly believe is her suicide note.  In fact she published that poem in 1915.  Her lover, Vachel Lindsay, took his own life in 1931 and she died from an overdose of sleeping pills in 1933.

I Shall Not Care; by Sara Teasdale

When I am dead and over me bright April
shakes out her rain-drenched hair,
tho’ you should lean above me broken-hearted,
I shall not care.

I shall have peace, as leafy trees are peaceful
when rain bends down the bough,
and I shall be more silent and cold-hearted
than you are now.

-o0o-

Her poems are powerful through their simplicity.  “There will come soft rains” became a Ray Bradbury short story, and you can instantly see why.  The poem could and should be the anthem of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT) who seek to protect planet earth by eliminating mankind.

There will come soft rains: by Sara Teasdale

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
and swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

and frogs in the pools singing at night,
and wild plum-trees in tremulous white;

robins will wear their feathery fire
whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

and not one will know of the war, not one
will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
if mankind perished utterly;

and Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
would scarcely know that we were gone.

Happy Birthday Rupert Brooke

Rupert_Brooke

Described by none other than W.B. Yeats as “the handsomest man in England” Brooke is the quintessential war poet.  A product of Rugby school and Cambridge University, a confused bisexual, steamy good looks, went skinny dipping with Virginia Wolfe, associated with the Bloomsbury set of poets.  He had a nervous breakdown in 1912 and toured the world as part of his recovery process.  He may have fathered a child with a Tahitian woman along the way.

When the first world war began Brookes poems “The dead” and “The Soldier” captured the mood of the nation and brought him to the attention of Winston Churchill, first Lord of the Admiralty.  He was commissioned as a naval officer and sailed for Gallipoli.  He died of an infected mosquito bite before the fleet reached Turkey.  He is buried on the Greek Island of Skyros.

Here is a funnier and less heroic poem from the pen of someone who is way too godlike for his own good.

A Channel Passage; by Rupert Brooke

The damned ship lurched and slithered. Quiet and quick
My cold gorge rose; the long sea rolled; I knew
I must think hard of something, or be sick;
And could think hard of only one thing — YOU!
You, you alone could hold my fancy ever!
And with you memories come, sharp pain, and dole.
Now there’s a choice — heartache or tortured liver!
A sea-sick body, or a you-sick soul!

Do I forget you? Retchings twist and tie me,
Old meat, good meals, brown gobbets, up I throw.
Do I remember? Acrid return and slimy,
The sobs and slobber of a last years woe.
And still the sick ship rolls. ‘Tis hard, I tell ye,
To choose ‘twixt love and nausea, heart and belly.

Happy Birthday Jerry Hourihane Clancy

21 years ago on this day Jerry was born in Holles Street Hospital at lunchtime.

That morning I asked Louise if I should go to work or not.  We went for a short walk up the road and back and then she told me to go ahead into work.  So off I went.  In the office I got a phone call asking if I would donate blood that day.  I rang home at about 10:30 and asked Louise how she was.  She said nothing was happening (liar).  So I agreed to go to Pelican House to donate.

I was just about finished with the donation when a call came in from the office telling me that Louise needed me straight away.  So they strapped up my arm, called me a plonker and threw me into a taxi home.

I was preparing for the long haul.  You’ve all seen it on TV.  Hours pacing the corridors as nothing happens.  So I made some sandwiches to take with me.  There was the remains of a half leg of lamb which makes some great sandwiches, especially if you have a nice chutney.

Then into the car and off to the hospital.  We parked up the car and walked over to registration.  Louise told the receptionist that she was going to have the baby straight away.  The eye rolling from the receptionist was clearly a practiced move born of many such situations.  Louise couldn’t walk any more, so I got a wheelchair to take her to the delivery ward.

They told me to go t o the waiting room and that I would be there for some considerable time.  I was so glad that I brought the book I was reading.  Unfortunately I never got to read the book, or eat the sandwiches.  Jerry was born about 40 minutes after we reached the hospital.

Once Louise and Jerry were settled I nipped home in the car to make some calls (pre-mobile phone days) and feed the dog etc.  In the car this song came on, and I cried.  Still do.