The first song you hear in the morning are the crows. The Jack Daw Ravens of time and tide. Irish Magpies. Wild cawing news of Yeats resurrected, perhaps from the sea on hangdog Irish mornings. Next comes the sound of dead Guinness barrels scrapping across the wet alley pavement; loaded on fog bound trucks behind the Longford Arms Hotel. And the night before the bearded lads were staring into their Guinness pints until they thought up a song; sung them low and dreamy and a sad and drunk and wistful and all of it; don’t matter if it was "Ragland Road" or "Bobby McGee," for it all sounded timeless and Irish. No matter where it come from, lad. The sessions! "But the bottles are done…we've killed each one….." And the lads sang "The Parting Glass," and disappeared into the mist. And right around the corner; upstairs in an empty storefront: "the International Pentecostal Church of Lost Souls," full of displaced Africans shouting versions of old white Missionary hymns brought to Africa by the English and Americans, and now carried back to Ireland by the "saved" black tribesmen. Music everywhere. Fueled by a sharp passion and the reaching for an uncertain God. The gypsy man playing Parisian Café accordion while his wives work the streets for coins in long red dresses. Babies on their backs. The crossroads of central Ireland. All the waitresses are from Poland. Forget any Brogue served up with your toast and tea. Wild cross currents and shiftings and turnabouts. And America has transported its fast food across the waters to poison the cuisines of the Olde Country. Germ colonialism. Fat babies in Spain, Italy, Ireland and France gnawing on Hamburgers and fries. Jesus Christ! What has God wrought? Diabetes! This cross pollination of the good and the bad; the ugly. Hang the Earl of Hamburger! Melamine and poison in Chinese baby milk and candy. But music flaps it's ancient wings above all woe - it is the wail of the human heart trying to survive and rise above war, madness, disease, loss of love and money; death, poverty, politics and boredom. The melodies rising out of churches and pubs and restaurants and book stores. It is a more human sound then debating politicians and commercials for life insurance and the Catholic and Protestant and Jewish and Islamic sermons. It is the keening of humankind.
God invented man. The Italians invented food. The French invented "cuisine," and the Irish invented music. It is only the music that will save us. Embalmed by it we are! Yet still alive. Immunized.
"On Ragland Road…of an autumn's day….I saw her first and knew! That her dark hair would weave a snare….that I would one day roux…." (Patrick Kavanaugh)
"For I'm drunk today! And I'm rarely sober…a handsome rover….from town to town.
But I'm sick now, my days are numbered, come all ye young men….
and lay me down." (Carrickfergus)
And finally, the dead Guinness barrels sliding across the wet alley pavement…on another Irish morning. Amen, lads, amen.